How to Make a $1,000 Feature Film with Mark Duplass

Make a feature film for $1000? Sounds crazy right? Well if you don’t know Mark Duplass you should get to know him. Mark and his brother Jay Duplass are most widely known for making the indie film hits The Puffy Chair and Safety Not Guaranteed. Mark Duplass has gone on to be a very successful writer, producer, and director.

Mark Duplass is an extremely talented film director, producer, musician, actor, and screenwriter. He along with his brother, Lawrence Jay Duplass, have created film industry waves in a very short time period. Be it filmmaking or successful TV series, everyone loves the work of Duplass Brothers.

Being Filmtrepreneurs they have initiated their own production company Duplass Brothers Productions and have been into the directing business since then. Widely known for their films The Puffy Chair (2005), Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011), and also The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (2012).

Jay and Mark Duplass have also co-created the renowned HBO TV series Togetherness.

Both of these talented brothers grew up in a suburb of New Orleans. They fell in love with film at a young age and they started making videos on their father’s Panasonic when the brothers were 6 and 9 respectively.

They would shoot versions of The Lone Ranger as well as The Sermon on the Mount. According to the Duplass brothers, when they look back over this period and the activities which extended to their teenage, they seem to recall an inner self of experimentation.

Things got focused and serious once Jay made this self-realization that he did not want to go on with his filed after spending four years as psychology majors which he was studying at the University of Texas, Austin. Mark Duplass was a singer-songwriter which he had to eventually give up because of increased condition of tendinitis.

Jay remained an extra year in the school so that he could study film and also got his brother Mark Duplass enrolled there so that he could act in his projects. Which was usually extremely cute bits of valuable silliness pretty much inspired by their obsession with the Coen Brothers. Mark has himself admitted that we were trying to be them but it was not going well.

After some time, Jay got his hands on a profitable and worthwhile commission to film a documentary about gardening which was some sponsored material on the behalf of an Austin startup, gardening.com.

The company crumpled before the film was finished even but luckily for the Duplass brothers, not before paying for their efforts. With that money, they bought a Canon GL1, got themselves a camera operator, and a photography editor so that they could begin on their second scripted feature film which was a rip-off of Rocky but in running shoes called Vince Del Rio.

And before they had even finished its edited, the duo decided that I was simply unreleasable which Mark Duplass has often referred to a steaming pile of dog diarrhea.

The Duplasses had no money, no ideas, and a terrible period of lack of faith in their filmmaking skills. So in desperation, Mark thought of making a movie which was part of their childhood. Fast and affordable and off-the-cuff. Mark Duplass went out to buy a $3 MiniDV tape which is the entire production cost of the movie and also improvised the total of what was to become the This is John of 2003.

It was a seven-minute short that started as an exercise, which results in triggering a psychological collapse because John rejects his numerous attempts as being too conscious or too formal. This was the course that so well summarized the creative journey of Duplasses’.

Though This is John might have sounded and looked like a home movie, it had a hint of life to it and that is why it was accepted into the shorts program when the Duplasses’ submitted to the Sundance and guess what? It was addressed as one of the five short films to see.

Right after two years, these brothers returned to the Sundance with The Puffy Chair which was an endeavor which they drew from their own lives. Starring Mark Duplass and his girlfriend (now wife) Katie Aselton this film concerns the relationships between men, women, fathers, mothers, and friends. Mark finds a replica of a lounge chair on eBay which his father used ages ago. The road trip that was taken to deliver that chair to him in Atlanta took very interesting twists and turns.

To some of the viewers, the movie touched something deep and affected them with its spooky familiarity. Making something so amazing with so little money sent a huge shockwave through the film industry which made it possible to think that anyone could step up to make a movie.

Although the traditional distributors kept their distance from the not-too-fine cheating after the film had spent a year’s time on the festival circuit, Netflix’s budding film distribution arm, Red Envelope Entertainment made its first acquisition. It is said by Sarandos of Netflix who was running Red Envelope, that he was drawn to the film for the wonderful home-viewing potential it possessed.

The follow-up feature of Duplass brothers in 2008 Baghead, was a mellow horror whose story revolved around a quartet of struggling filmmakers who head back to the woods for the weekend as a last try to pen down a feature film which would give them a head start to their careers. And they found the plot of pretty clichéd stories which gave the actors a set of guidelines to explore human interaction.

The Mumblecore Movement

A new movement called Mumblecore had the Duplass brothers working with directors like Joe Swanberg and Andrew Bujaski. But still, the boys had potential and momentum which soon gave them the chance to take up the traditional first step thing that all directors do to boost up their career i.e. making their first-ever studio film.

Willing to work for less, they cast all of the Puffy Chair fans in the production of Fox Searchlight Cyrus. With a $7 million budget and storyline of a creepy mother-son relationship, it was certainly an out of the box thing. The Duplass spent three years working on Cyrus. The movie revolved around a depressed man in his 40s, which was problem for Fox Searchlight who were suspicious of estranging the viewership. They wanted to portray him as down but not too much of it.

The film grossed $7.4 million which happens to be the most successful Duplass venture to date.

It soon became quite apparent that the movies these brothers were interested in making were aimed at a smaller audience with limited box-office appeal. But yet, if they underperformed in theaters a large audience was enjoying the work of Duplass brothers on the small screen and their movies surely were having a profitable afterlife.

Since The Puffy Chair came out, the Duplass brothers had been toying with the idea of HBO and now seemed the perfect time to actually take the chance. Jay came up with the idea of series which would star Steve Zissis who has Mark’s senior in high school and had had a stall in his acting career after Baghead and Do-Deca-Pentathlon.

So that is how the idea of Alexander the Great took birth which happened to be a pilot about an actor who was struggling with his career with mental health issues. HBO loved it and asked to add more characters making it a relationship show and that is what they did.

Before the premiere of A Teacher at Sundance, Fidell had sent the Duplass brothers her feature making them her fan. That is why she was their first choice when Mark Duplass got an idea for a movie of a young reboot of Days of Wine and Roses which has physical abuse instead of alcohol. Graciously accepted by Fidell, by the end of the day, she was officially signed up both for the writing and direction of what was to formulate into Six Years. And in March at SXSW it was bought by Netflix.

The most astonishing development in an already amazing career apart from the movies and TV shows that this dynamic duo made, the Duplasses have grown into a royalty which helps like-minded filmmakers gain benefit from the business model which they seem to have created.

The Duplass brothers helped a friend in giving life to his film and this revelation that they could actually save the struggling career of a filmmaker with some time and money blew their minds away and always grateful for the emotional as well as financial support by their parents they saw this way to put it back in the world.

Producing multiple films per year, which

  1. Strictly follow the line of low costs.
  2. Protecting the vision of the filmmaker.
  3. Eventually giving the final product to the audiences as fast as possible.

The Duplass Brothers have signed a four-picture deal with Netflix. And they are taking a similar approach to TV. The first film from that deal is Blue Jay starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson and directed by Alexandre Lehmann (check out his interview here). Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. Check out the trailer below:

They helped few filmmakers in making 10 episodes of the show of an animated series Animals and much to their surprise, not only HBO bought them but signed them for the second season right away. And four months later, the Duplass brothers got a two-year deal.

These brothers have the magic beans to turn any idea, no matter how trivial it may be, into a profitable TV show or movie.

Can you really make a feature film for $1000 bucks?

Mark Duplass had a packed house for his amazing SXSW Keynote Speech. He was spitting out Indie Film GOLD though out his talk.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear his talk, here are some topics he covered:

  • Learn your craft  by making short films every weekend for $3
  • Write a Feature Film for less than $1,000
  • Have a strong day job (whatever you can get) while working towards your goal
  • Put money away to travel to Film Festivals and future films

Coming from the “Mumblecore” indie film movement, a style of low-budget film typically characterized by the use of nonprofessional actors and naturalistic or improvised performances, he had some great advice for independent filmmakers:

“You should design the aesthetic of the movie so that it doesn’t feel like less than a $200,000 movie but it feels squarely like a $1,000 movie.”

I’ve seen so many filmmakers attempt to make The Avengers on the budget for craft services for one day on a Marvel set. You are setting yourself up to fail. When starting out work within your limitations. It worked for Robert Rodriguez on his indie film classic El Mariachi.

Mark Duplass stated that $1000 is in NO WAY a budget a feature film should be made for. Here is what Duplass says:

“It’s not an empirical number, it depends of the city you live in and the scope of your story. But when I think about that movie, it’s doing a couple of things.

Borrowing recycled hard drive from people. Getting the Ultrakam uncompressed app on your iPhone. Most of it is food and you really want someone who can cook.

I recommend having your editor be the ‘DIT’ person who takes the Media in – and they have a lot of downtime, so you have them help you light, and you have them cook.

And you should be having a crew that’s really, really small. So that money should be mostly spent on food and then you are going to spend that on festival applications.”

Mark Duplass dishes out some amazing advice to independent filmmakers in this keynote speech and awesome Q&A. To see the entire SXSW Keynote check out the video below, DO IT!

“Instinct is very, very important, and we believe in it through every part of the process… When it’s time to create and get that stuff down, we believe in the gut.” – Mark Duplass

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IFH 448: The Science Of Maximizing Film Tax Credits with Zachary Tarica


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Raising money for independent films is the number one pain point for almost every filmmaker in the world. A buzzword so many producers hear nowadays is “film tax credits.”  These tax credits are magical and it’s like money falling from the sky but how do they work? How can indie filmmakers get their hands on these greenbacks?

Hopefully, this episode will make that struggle a bit easier. On the show today we have tax credit guru  Zachary Tarica, CEO of The Forest Road Company and Chairman of the Board & Chief Investment Officer at Forest Road Acquisition Corp.

The Forest Road Company (FRC) is a vertically integrated, specialty finance platform catering to the entertainment industry. Through tax credit lending, servicing, and brokerage, the team of finance professionals, tax credit experts, and lawyers work to empower responsible creators with the resources they need to bring their best work to life.

The company has also sponsored its first SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), Forest Road Acquisition Corp., which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in Nov 2020.

In its three years of business, Forest Road has remarkably funded over 150 projects in film and TV through tax credits and raised a staggering $300 million capital – working with state and federal officials and filmmakers to build independent filmmakers competition with big studio films.

Zachary had previously built a career in the private equity business. So when he was introduced to the filmtrepreneur side of the industry, he saw an opportunity to capitalize on a cost-effective, double-win, where filmmakers would avoid the bad distribution deals and States would benefit from the jobs created.

I consider this episode as one of the ultimate film business talks. With the challenges COVID has caused to every industry, the film industry is dealing with hurdles of the high replacement costs to make movies.

Being able to properly get allotted film tax credits is a massive advantage. Zachary shares prime investor insider knowledge and resources in this conversation that will blow your mind. And of course, you have to hear his hilarious story of how he discovered the Indie Film Hustle Podcast and my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur.

Enjoy my conversation with Zachary Tarica.

Alex Ferrari 2:31
So I was very fascinated to talk to our guests today. Zack Ricca. Now Zach runs a company called forest road, and his company has raised over $300 million worth of capital and funded and brokered over 150 Film and Television projects exclusively using state Motion Picture tax credits. Now the world being what it is, today, it is tougher and tougher to make a major motion picture and an independent level. And we can use any little help we can get. And Zachary and I go deep into the weeds about how independent filmmakers can gain access to these tax credits around the country. And by the way, not only in the US, but there's tax credits around the world, different countries have tax credits as well. And we're going to go into all the details of what tax credits are, how you can get them how you need to properly get them and how not to get in trouble. Because I even tell a story of a few filmmakers that I've worked with in my career that got into a little bit of trouble when they did things that they shouldn't have been doing with t ax credits. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Zack tariqa. I'd like to welcome to shows actor rica man How you doing?

Zachary Tarica 3:57
I'm doing great. How are you?

Alex Ferrari 3:58
I'm good, man. I'm good. Thank you for being on the show. Brother. I truly appreciate it. We're going to talk today about tax credits, something we have never truly dug into in the podcast, which is a rare thing. Since we have over 400 plus episodes. We've covered a lot of stuff in the show. And I've never had an episode on tax credits. And I've talked them I've talked about them a little bit here and there. And I know I'm I know enough about tax credits to be dangerous. So I really wanted to bring an expert on to the show. But before we do that, how did you get involved in this ridiculous business? Sir

Zachary Tarica 4:37
How did I get involved? Well, thanks. Thanks for having me. And I've been I've been a fan of this and I'm glad we were able to make it work. I was working at a private equity firm, and I was spending a lot of time on tax credits. And I kind of fell into this. It's the classic story of a friend asking you to invest in a movie and me wanting to learn more about the different parts of it just because I'm a generally curious person. And I started digging into how tax credits were different in film, versus renewable energy and real estate. And ultimately found that there was a community of people like yourself, I think that that are film sharpeners. And, and dangerous in the tax credit game, but not really maximizing the value of the tax credit and how important the tax credit can be in your project. And so like anything else, when you go to buy something, or build something, capitalizing it properly is very important. Not taking too much debt versus having way too much equity and finding that equilibrium and balance. And I found that tax credits, allow for the win win win, right? We as a company, we win because we're helping filmmakers create their project. And we're also making money, right? I don't want this to be about why we're the Robin Hood company of this industry, we definitely make money. And the second part is, this process allows for us to win as a company, the filmmaker to win but most importantly, these states that have good programs, they're winning the with with an election coming up, and 2020 and America in the position it's in in the world. Job creation is probably one of the most bipartisan issues out there right now. And tax credits do a remarkable job of creating jobs. And that is the third winner in this, which is these states rely on our company to do things in accordance with their rules and regulations. And the filmmakers are relying on us to help them not only do it the right way, right, get that tax credit back or that rebate back. But they're also relying on us to maximize that value for them. We've had filmmakers come to us and say they have a tax credit worth $100 I'm using a fake number. And in reality when we get under the hood and do the work that tax credits were $300. And that means the world for them to not have to go and raise that extra hundreds of 1000s of dollars from equity. Or take the bad distribution deal that that I know, you might have so many times

Alex Ferrari 7:41
there's that there's bad distribution deals, what are you talking about?

Zachary Tarica 7:44
So never did one such thing

Alex Ferrari 7:45
stop that. Saying stuff

Zachary Tarica 7:50
But um, but But yeah, in short, I fell into this by accident. I'm excited to have fallen into it. The company that I worked at is called Forest Road. And it's been a great, almost three year run now at this point, being able to work with both elected and local officials at the state and federal level. But also to work with a lot of different filmmakers watching their projects and their their business, which is their film come to life.

Alex Ferrari 8:25
I love that last statement their business and their film because a lot of filmmakers don't think of their film as a business. They think of it as a creative outlet, which it is, but as I've said many times before, is there's twice as many letters in the word business as the word show. And there's a reason

Zachary Tarica 8:42
if they don't if your listeners don't know that by now they need to fix their air pod.

Alex Ferrari 8:47
Absolutely. And really quickly, I always like to ask, and we talked a little bit about this off air, how did you find me and the work that I'm doing and with indie film, hustle, I'm always curious.

Zachary Tarica 9:00
Pride myself on letting our customers know that I'm getting an industry, I'm not going to read a script. I'm not going to get into the creative chops of it. That's what that's what our team is there for. And the same way that I wanted to dive into the film tax credit side of it. I also wanted to dive into the film side of it, less the tax credits. And so I travel a bunch, obviously pre COVID and, and I'm always looking for the next good book or podcast. I came across your podcast. Um, and and actually I don't it's it's a funny story. I came across this podcast and every time I went to listen to it, I was on a flight and the flight every time three for three the first three times I literally hit play sat in my seat, put my seatbelt on and the plane would get canceled the flight would get and I was just like you know what, screw it on. done listening to this guy, head, it's bad juju. It's bad karma on the done. And it took a little bit of time. And in the earlier part of this year, I was home. And I was on a bike ride and I listened to some more of the episodes. Fortunately, not nothing got canceled or any muscles during my workout were you and then I heard you read off the first chapter of the book Rise of the film trip earner. And I quickly sent it around to the team on our end. And I, you know, told everyone that they should order the book and they should listen to this chapter, we were looking at a lot of different things in the space distribution deals and mg lending and presale lending and what was going to happen with international sales in the midst of the earlier parts of the COVID pandemic. And it just was very well received by our team, it was very informative, it helped answer a lot of questions that I think there are people out there spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars, either in losses or in education that they can get for the free admission of your podcast. And I believe the sub $20 investment of the book. And so I just, I love promoting things that I use myself and look into myself, and use myself. And this was one of those things. And so it was an easy reach out for me. And ultimately what I was doing was I was connecting our clients with you, you know, they would ask us about how should we think about, you know, raising money for this. And I was like, you should actually look at chapter three of rods of the film group runner, you know, I have to buy the book. And so that that's how I came across. And I think this business today, trying to launch your business, ie your film, you have to, you know, give give your vote or read. And there's so many of these podcasts that will save whoever it is hundreds of 1000s if not millions of dollars over the course of their career, hopefully their long career in this industry.

Alex Ferrari 12:23
Well, I will make sure to send you a check for that endorsement, sir. I appreciate that very, very, very much. Now, really, so let's get into it. What are tax credits? A lot of people don't understand what a tax credit is.

Zachary Tarica 12:35
Tax Credit is in its simplest form, we'll we'll start really high level and then we can get a bunch more in the weeds. a tax credit in its simplest form is something that you're doing to benefit the state in which you're doing it. So what did I just say? I kind of just said nothing. So the tax credit is there for you to get something back. You're you're helping someone do something. So you decide you want to make a movie. So let's just use a real life example. Alex tomorrow wants to make a movie in New York,

Alex Ferrari 13:14
a vegan chef, a vegan chef movie star, a vegan chef romantic comedy.

Zachary Tarica 13:18
Correct? Correct. And so, when Alex looks to make this movie, he's going to raise two types of capital, equity and debt. The debt has a lot of different pieces to it. And we'll put that aside for now the equity. Let's just use the example of friends and family to make this illustrative and simple. On the equity side, he calls 10 friends and they all give them money. Great. Alex is a good friend and everyone was happy to chip in and see this vegan chef, New York romantic comedy come to life. On the debt side, there are I'll just define as a bucket of pre sales and tax credits. tax credits are there to help promote things like tourism, this vegan chef romantic comedy movie is going to start off at the Empire State Building. He's going to fall in love at Madison Square Garden. He's going to go on his engagement proposal trip to the Natural History Museum. And then ultimately, this all will culminate with him finding out that the love of his life wasn't vegan the entire time at the Statue of Liberty and the end of the movie and you'll be left hanging on the edge of your seat to see if they end up making it work or not in the sequel.

Alex Ferrari 14:46
That's a horrible, horrible story pitch. Sir. You obviously are not in the film industry. Sir. You are. You are a finance guy. Through a through sir. That's a horrible, horrible

Zachary Tarica 14:58
That was my first pitch. That was my first pitch.

Alex Ferrari 15:00
Yes, sir. Horrible continue.

Zachary Tarica 15:04
The tax credit is there to promote New York, right. So Alex is going to bring a lot of jobs when he shows up on day one in pre, principal and post and we could talk a lot about COVID. Now, because the opportunity and replacement cost of making content is becoming more expensive. It today is more expensive to make a movie because of the Coronavirus, then it is to or was prior to February 25 2020. And so the tax credit gets allocated towards your hotel stay your transportation, your flights, the soundstage grip and lighting, the post production VFX the below the line and above the line expenses. Now every state has its different rules. So I name things that may not qualify for New York. But the important part here is you are spending money to earn a tax credit in the form of New York, it's a rebate so they actually just cut you a check. So here's a real example. Well, we'll do a little bit of math, which I know you like to jump into. On these, you've got a film that's being made for a million bucks. You've got 500,000 or half the budget, that's going to qualify for the rebate, and the rebate is 30%. So 500,000 times point three is 150,000. If you do everything the right way, which no one ever does, and even if you do, the state will not tell you you did it the right way. You will get back $150,000 making your vegan romantic comedy chef movie in New York. Why is that important? That is $150,000 of found money. It's money, you don't have to borrow from your dentist or your friends, it's money that you don't have to take from a distributor who may not have the film's best interest in their agenda. It comes from the state and the state is paying out 30% because you just created jobs, tourism and infrastructure. And so the tax credit in its simplest form is a thank you from the state you're shooting for creating those things for that state.

Alex Ferrari 17:41
Simple as that.

Zachary Tarica 17:43
Simple, it's as simple as that. The problem with tax credits is because it is so fairly simple. Everyone thinks they're an expert in it. Right? It's, it's like any other part of this industry. Um, because everything that I said, I hope would make sense for a fifth grader, everyone now becomes an expert on tax credits. And so you start to miss things. And I'll give a great example of missing something. You buy a whole bunch of stuff from Walmart, you go to the store and you buy it, and it qualifies for the tax credit. However, Alex, this time you messed up, instead of going to the store and buying it from the store, you order it on walmart.com and you ship it to the store. You no longer get the tax credit based on what you shipped. So every state and every year has its own intricacies has its own restrictions has its own rules. And you're not dealing always with elected officials. You're not always dealing with the right person at the Department of Revenue, or Revenue and Taxation or the Film Commission. You're dealing with a lot of people hearing a lot of things with constant law changes. So what we do as a firm is make sure that everything is done the right way. And ultimately what that right way means is we're maximizing the value of the tax credit. We're working hand in hand, not with what someone at the Film Commission tells us now with what your cousin who once made a movie in Pennsylvania two years before you told you what to do, we're doing this so that everything happens such that you maximize the value you get the most amount back on the tax credit, but also you're doing it the right way with the state and that happens faster. And and so another big thing that I know you like to discuss on this show, is the time value of money right? What is $1 worth today versus $1 worth in two years from now? We had a call today with someone waiting on a New York tax rebate from 2014. What is that money even worth any more to that person. So we're constantly doing these so that we can push the envelope and get this done as fast as possible. Because ultimately, with debt comes interest and with interest comes losses to your equity. And our goal is to maximize not only the value of the tax credit, but the value of your business, ie the film you are making.

Alex Ferrari 20:39
Now, each state obviously has different rates. And some states don't have tax credits, or tax incentives as they're as they're called. I remember when I used to live in Florida, Florida for a while, had a good tax incentive. But then a different party came into play and they killed it. And then with that killed all of the all the production that was going down in Miami and South Florida, because I remember when I was growing up, there's bad boys bad boys to try. I think transformer there's a ton of movies that went down there, to the point where they just when they made bad boys three, they shot just the bare essential exteriors and everything else they shot up in Georgia, why tax incentives? Which, arguably, Georgia now has is it's the best in this in the content of the country, one of the best.

Zachary Tarica 21:28
Georgia is the Hollywood of the South. Right, no question about it. The most prolific program highlighted by the investments that have been made by Disney and Netflix and and be bang for your buck you get there is great. No, no question about it. That is not to say that there are not a lot of other states that are in line with Georgia, or their goal is to, you know, overtake Georgia in that program. Right? New Mexico has made tremendous investments in their tax credit programs. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, what we do as a company is, in going to our website, we actually rank every state that has a program. And if you click on that state and type in your email address, we will send you a one page cheat sheet on everything you need to know in that state making a movie. So what we want to do is help filmmakers get to the right place for their project, every project is different. And so just because Georgia is the program to be in right now, that doesn't mean Georgia's the right program for your film. And so maybe, if you're based in Los Angeles, with everything going on in the world, Georgia doesn't make a lot of sense to be on flights back and forth, maybe you want to look into Puerto Rico, maybe if you're coming from New York, it doesn't make sense to shoot in New Mexico, it may make sense to go to Alabama, so every one of these programs constantly change. And so it's important to stay on top of that. And that's what we do as a company. But it's also important to know what your film is and what you're doing as a business such that you're shooting in the right seat for your project.

Alex Ferrari 23:33
Got it? Now, do you also work with international? Um, like, you know, because there's incentives in the UK in different countries? Is that something you guys work with? And can you talk a little bit about that it was basically the same concept as it is here in the States.

Zachary Tarica 23:47
The core vision or mission statement of our company is to add value is to help our clients. If you're, if you're if you're calling us, because you're really excited about a program in Romania, and you're exploring shooting there and earning those remaining credits, you will hear me quickly say you should probably work with someone else, we can't add value we can't help. So we work in jurisdictions where we can help in Canada, in the UK. Now in some parts of Latin America, where we not only know the programs, but we know the people within the programs to move things faster. The underlying programs are virtually the same, right? They're in place to do a bunch of different things tourism, infrastructure and job creation. We will turn down more projects outside of North America than we will take Because ultimately, we just can't add as much value.

Alex Ferrari 24:50
Alright, fair enough. Now, as with everything we're talking about with tax credits, the thinking and the concepts very similar. You spent $100,000 there, you're going to get 30% back so you're going to get $30,000 Back in that's a very generalized way of looking at it. Is there a way to leverage tax credits to help get financing saying like, Okay, guys, we have a million, this is a million dollar. This is a million dollars, but we really only need 700 1000. Because we qualify for a million dollars because we're going to do everything in Georgia. Where is it Georgia production, everything, we're not going to breathe outside of Georgia. So that means we know that 30,000 $300,000 is coming in. So when raising the remaining 700,000, can you leverage that 300,000 to help you get the financing?

Zachary Tarica 25:40
That's the biggest, that's that's the biggest thing, right? So what we want to do is make the cost of capital of the film as low as possible. So in that example, that you just gave a million dollars, where you only need to raise 700,000, because 300 can come from the tax credit. That's a home run, win win win scenario for all right? And so what were you going to do, if you didn't raise that extra 300,000, what were you going to do, if you had 700, making a million dollar film with that 300,000 coming in from the next one, it would have come at the expense of higher interest debt, it would have come at the expense of a bad potentially mg deal, it would have come at the expense of you know, less shooting days, it would have so the beauty in what we're doing is we're actually a capital provider. So we're coming to you saying look, you thought your tax credit was worth 300,000, we actually think it could be worth 400,000. And we're giving you that we're putting our money where our mouth is 100% of the time. So I believe in the ability to show you know the buy in buy action, not words there, you know, any one of them that I could point you to a long list of people that will tell you what your tax credits worth, I cannot point you to a long list of people that will actually put the money up for what they tell you it's worth. So when you get a number from us, that's a number not that we're going to go take to the bank, not that we're going to go do anything else with that we as a company that we're going to put the money in, we're investing that. So if you're looking for capital against tax credit, we are the one stop shop for not only maximizing the value, getting it back faster, brokering the tax credit, which is something we haven't hit on yet. But also lending putting capital in your pocket immediately.

Alex Ferrari 28:01
Now, how can how can the tax credit? If the state gives 30%? How can that tax credit be worth more than 30%?

Zachary Tarica 28:09
Well, it's worth 30%, on what qualifies. So you've got the numerator and the denominator. And the most important part is getting the qualified number, right? Because no matter what you're going to multiply by point three, whether or not you multiply by a million or 500,000. That's the differentiator. Oftentimes, the difference between 500 grand and a million is the fact that the filmmaker didn't know how to qualify and code, the expenses in the QR qualified report.

Alex Ferrari 28:42
So it could have been you could be adding, there's other things you like, it's basically like going into having a forensic accountant or just an accountant go in and go, yeah, you you could have saved another $10,000 in taxes this year, because you didn't expense this properly, or expense that properly.

Zachary Tarica 28:57
Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 28:58
So that's, that's, that's fairly valuable. Now,

Zachary Tarica 29:04
from our standpoint, what we're trying to accomplish, because the more we can maximize that value for you, the better your film is going to be. I mean, it's so simple and I take over simplifying things, but less stress and pressure will generally always equal a better product

Alex Ferrari 29:26
nooo. Stop it.

Zachary Tarica 29:31
So it's just one of those things where if we can alleviate and we can give you the comfort of a couple extra days of shooting a couple extra days in a timeline for delivery.

Alex Ferrari 29:47
A bigger star,

Zachary Tarica 29:48
a bigger star, a better trailer better music. That's that's what we bring to the table.

Alex Ferrari 29:56
Now what Okay, so this sounds great and we've been throwing around them million dollars as a kind of number, but what is the minimum requirements to take advantage of tax credits because I know every state's different, some states won't even look at you for less than a million. And some will look at you for half a million, what is the kind of the kind of range, because I'm imagining a $50,000 indie film is not qualify for tax credits as a general statement.

Zachary Tarica 30:33
So what's interesting is that the states and we've been very active in promoting this, the states that we work in, and then I'll, I'll go through a couple now, they've done a great job of putting programs in place for the sub $200,000 film. And so what we've discovered, and actually, as part of a study that was done in conjunction with the University of Utah, was, we found that whether you're a $200,000 movie or a $2 million movie, there's still the same amount of effort and job creation and line producers and accountants and lawyers. And, and so we felt like there was this unfair bias to Well, it's got to meet this criteria of 2 million. Why? Actually, we've seen that on a $2 million movie, they actually have less people than the $200,000 movie. And so Louisiana has done an incredible job of building out their program for these smaller films. New York has done a great job, you know, promoting areas outside of Manhattan, Long Island upstate, for programs that are sub a million dollars. And I think the more that these programs can grow in Ohio, in Massachusetts, Kentucky, had this type of program, but recently shut it down in 2018. And 19. I think they will, I think people will realize that that they belong at the states at a lower budget range.

Alex Ferrari 32:31
Now, in your on your site, you talk a lot, you talk a little bit about buying and selling tax credits. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Zachary Tarica 32:40
Yeah, so we talked about New York where you actually get a check in the mail or rebate check. Right? You Alex made that movie 500,000 qualified, he finds out at the end that she wasn't a vegan. And the move is

Alex Ferrari 32:55
a horrible, horrible romantic, romantic comedy, horrible romantic comedy.

Zachary Tarica 33:01
Yeah, exactly. And and you get your check in the mail for 150,000. Everyone's a winner, you're all happy? Well, what happens when you don't get a check in the mail? What happens when you have a credit that you need to monetize? So what happens there is you need to find someone with income in that state. Because they're going to utilize the tax credit to offset their tax expense. And so let's just use Georgia because we talked about it before. Disney makes a lot of movies in Georgia. Disney has no income in Georgia. Therefore, they do not pay any Georgia state income tax. However, a lot of other companies do make income in Georgia, Coca Cola, delta, Cox Communications, Georgia Pacific. chick fil a, those companies do want to use those tax credits. So Disney earns that right? They generate them because they make a movie in Georgia and delta, bad example in the environment because they won't have much taxable income for the foreseeable future. But a company like Delta let's use Home Depot where everyone is improving their home right now because Guardian travel I did for for six months, yeah, eight months. And and they will buy the tax credit from Disney at a price where there's a spread in the middle. So Disney earns a tax credit. And then they sell it to the addressable market, ie the income earner. And what we do as a company is we connect buyers and sellers.

Alex Ferrari 34:57
So if I have, okay, so if I have $100 Tax Credit. I'm Disney, and I'm gonna sell it to, to Home Depot. I'm assuming I'm not selling it at $100. I'm selling it at a discount.

Zachary Tarica 35:10
Correct

Alex Ferrari 35:10
And now does Disney is there no other way Disney can use that money? Is that credit?

Zachary Tarica 35:16
There's no, there's no other way they can use it.

Alex Ferrari 35:19
Okay, so they have to go down this road

Zachary Tarica 35:22
They have to sell it. And so the market for Georgia tax credits right now is 88 to 91 cents.

Alex Ferrari 35:33
Okay.

Zachary Tarica 35:34
So it's got to trade at a steep enough discount for the buyer Home Depot to want to earn a return. So if you buy something, let's just use round numbers. If you buy something at 90, you just save 10% on your taxes.

Alex Ferrari 35:51
Right? And you want to buy as many of those as they're available?

Zachary Tarica 35:56
Well, in theory, you want to buy as much of it of the taxable income you have,

Alex Ferrari 36:00
right

Zachary Tarica 36:01
So that you can pay as little in state in income tax.

Alex Ferrari 36:05
So for the cost of 10%, they get to write off 90% of taxable income.

Zachary Tarica 36:12
Well said a little bit differently. Yes, you get to buy something at 90, you get to buy a million dollars of taxable liability for 900,000. So you've solidified you've crystallized a profit of $100,000.

Alex Ferrari 36:28
Got it

Zachary Tarica 36:28
Taking no risk?

Alex Ferrari 36:31
Well, that seems Is there a place for personal income like that, sir? can we can we do that? Or is there is there a place that we the the poor, independent filmmaker trying to scratch out a living here in Los Angeles? Because God knows LA doesn't have any taxes? We could purchase some

Zachary Tarica 36:47
California is is I don't want to go on the record for speaking poorly of California. But California is a good example of a state that doesn't have great tax credit programs for the film industry. Unfortunately

Alex Ferrari 37:03
No and it's been like that forever. And I know whatever tax credits there are, they get gobbled up by the studios.

Zachary Tarica 37:11
That's right. It is very hard for the independent film community. Despite our lobbying efforts, and what we have tried to accomplish working with the Film Commission and others, to have tax credits a lot of to the small indie filmmaking community. It's just, we just haven't had great traction and success.

Alex Ferrari 37:36
But there's plenty of places in the country that you can, can do that. Nowadays. And you know, things might change. Like, you know, I right now there's an exodus out of California. Yeah, there's an exodus leaving California because taxes are ridiculous. And now, I just just as a general statement, this is a little off the record off the topic. But the whole, our whole industry has changed so dramatically now, because the work from home model is now established. And employers like it, employees like it, it's less cost for the employer. It's more convenient and more productive for the employee. that's changing so dramatically. And then all of a sudden people living in large cities, especially in our in our it may be different for crew people, but people who live work behind the scenes or other things like that. They just they just like why am I spending obscene amounts of money living in LA in New York, Chicago, when I could just move to Georgia, where I could, I could buy a mansion for the price of a shack here in Los Angeles.

Zachary Tarica 38:43
I know. I do believe that. There are a few cities in in the United States right now that are going to have a tough time digging out of this hole that is created for them and those cities, as you look at them on a map, and you look at the percentage of the city that is taken up by the three R's, retail, residential, real estate, and restaurants. And any of those cities are not going to be able to bounce back in the way that other cities can and and on top of that. The tax rates in California and New York are going to go higher. I mean, I don't know how else to say it. And, and to me, it speaks volumes to why tax credits will become a more prevalent part of society and are in and community. But most importantly, I think it will just be tied to where people end up going to I think you will see a flight out of Manhattan, I think You will see a flight out of Los Angeles. I just I don't see how it's how it doesn't happen that way.

Alex Ferrari 40:09
No, Zack, can we talk a little bit about tax credit fraud? Because I have some personal experience with that. And I would love to hear some of your stories, and I'll be more than happy to tell mine.

Zachary Tarica 40:23
The tax credit, um, well, tax credit fraud. So let's start with there is a ton of it out there. And and I think maybe even taking a bigger step back. We talked prior in one of our earlier conversations, just the barrier to entry in the film industry. And I think what is unique is, you know, you want to be a dentist and you go to dental school, you want to be a lawyer, go to law school, you know, if you want to be a filmmaker, you just show up and you change your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook pitch. And so you will always deal with bad apples and this industry, like all others have the bad apples in it. And so fraud, especially in tax credits, is, I think, the most notable or relevant thing to talk about when you do talk about tax credits. I think most of the time, the filmmaker genuinely doesn't even realize they're committing fraud. And I think the examples that I would cite on this is examples where they did know that they were committing fraud, because look, at the end of the day, when you're working hand in hand with a state Commissioner, film office and accountant, a lawyer, you're gonna make mistakes, and hopefully, using far sword as a company, we can help avoid those mistakes. But the reality of situation is they're gonna happen. I think they become big issues when there's fraud. So what is tax credit fraud? It's actually pretty simple. The most notable form of tax credit fraud is related party transactions. So Alex moves to New York a month before he makes his movie about the vegan chef romantic comedy. And Alex buys three vans, we'll just make the super simple three white vans, and Alex charges. Every time an actor lands at JFK Airport, Alex jumps in his van, he throws on his little driver hat and his suit. And he picks up George Clooney from JFK. Right? It comes time to hit all the expenses. And Alex submits the expenses for the tax credit. And he says that every time you picked up George Clooney, or whoever was in the movie playing Alex in this romantic

Alex Ferrari 43:16
Thank you, sir.

Zachary Tarica 43:20
And he charges $100,000 to pick up George Clooney from the airport. No, no. Why would Alex do that? Well, Alex is the sole member of Alex transportation company, the white van that picked up George Clooney from JFK. And so you're saying yourself? Well, that's not fraud. I paid myself $100,000. From the money that I raised from investors. They didn't ask who or what I was doing with the money other than to say I was making a movie and I qualified that for the tax credit. Well, the problem is, is that the state is going to pay you a rebate amount off of the total amount that you spent. And in reality, it should not have cost you $100,000 to pick up George Clooney from the airport. Maybe it should have cost you $300. So that is the most relevant for our form of a related party transaction that is fraud. And so what happens is, is back to the numerator denominator, you are taking point 330 percent of the tax rebate, and you're multiplying it by the qualified expense of the film. And so if you only spent $300 at a 30% rebate, versus $100,000 at a 30% rebate, well, you just sold, you just stole about $29,000 from the state of New York. And so that is fraud

Alex Ferrari 44:57
and that it's also a federal situation. I'm not mistaken, can it?

Zachary Tarica 45:02
Well, it can be where we've had great experience is at the state level, where not only was it a related party transaction, but there are things like changing general Ledger's and cost reports.

Alex Ferrari 45:20
You mean having two sets of like two sets of books, like like the mob?

Zachary Tarica 45:23
to exactly, there's, there's two sets of books, there is, you know, we've seen a bunch of different things, I would say, the most common is not two sets of books, but we've actually seen just outright made up numbers in a cost report. And so the way accounting works really high level payroll providers, production accountants, are creating statements, both cost reports in general letters. And so if you are submitting material to an auditor, generally a third party auditor, and that auditor is using fake numbers tied to a mis represented costs report, which then created a fake general ledger, which then created a fabricated audit. That is fraud. And, and it goes all the way up, you know, potentially to the federal level, because what happens is, is that the auditor is being hired by the state to do the state's work. And so when the auditor doesn't catch the fraud, it becomes the state's problem. And when it becomes a state problem, it becomes a big problem.

Alex Ferrari 46:47
So I've actually heard of companies and tell me if this is actually legal or not, I've heard of this, in the years of me walking around in this business, were like, okay, we're going to go shoot this movie in Louisiana, because Louisiana has really great tax incentive, we're going to set up a post house in Louisiana, and we're going to open up a company that's going to do all the posts there, we're going to fly people in, and it's going to be a Louisiana post company. So we can qualify all that expense to the tax, the tax credit. And we're going to keep that company going for a few years doing other projects and stuff like that, because we're going to keep coming back. Is that legal?

Zachary Tarica 47:23
That is not only legal, that's a that's a great thing. Right? Okay, because that creating jobs, that's awesome. Here's where it becomes not awesome. That same example you gave, we're going to go to Louisiana, we're going to open up a post production company, and we're going to create jobs and it becomes not cool or not legal, when you don't disclose to the state, that it's your business. Right. So if you open that post house, right, and your form is also using it, what the states do, which I think is smart on behalf of the states is they cap the amount of tax credits that can come from related transactions. So using your example of Louisiana, it's great that they build a post house that they're creating jobs. However, what if the VFX normally would cost $100? And they're charging $100,000? Sure, same thing. Yeah, it's the same thing. As long as you can show, look, this is market. This is we're doing things the right way. Then there's a cap on how much that can be. So another good example is in Illinois, right? They have a post credit. So what you have is you have Principal photography that goes in Kentucky. And then you've got post production that goes in downtown Chicago, but now they're trying to qualify the entire expense of this post job. But we all know that some of it was done in Los Angeles and we all you know is especially in a world today where you can do a lot of this stuff from a lot of different places. So the states constantly need to be changing. And amending and working with production companies and working with lenders to make these programs more efficient and better.

Alex Ferrari 49:33
Because I've heard I mean I've I've been a party to I have not say I was involved in but I've heard of something setting setting up a company like that in Louisiana and then all of a sudden using let's say an LA or New York VFX guy and paying them the you know to do the majority of the work but funneling it through that post house that's now in and that's that's fraud?

Zachary Tarica 49:57
That is fraud.

Alex Ferrari 49:59
Straight up.

Zachary Tarica 50:01
Straight up. Yeah. And so generally and it's it's tough to stereotype, but when we hear words like in kind or funneling or defer or related party, our ears perked up a little bit, because we're trying to, we're not we're not trying to ruin anyone's day, but we're trying to steer people clear of of the danger that they can get themselves into and, and oftentimes are led into by some people in this industry, that better not having their best interests.

Alex Ferrari 50:41
So I promise that I promise I will tell you, My my, my tax credit fraud stories, which are terrifying, because I was sitting around selling olive oil, because I used to sell olive oil when I got out of the business for three years. And that's a whole other conversation for another day. I was sitting there and all of a sudden I get a call on my phone or like, Hi, is this Alex Ferrari? Oh, yes. And like, this is the FBI. And I'm like, No, seriously, who is this? I'm like, No, sir. This is the FBI. I'm like, I'm sorry. What would you What can I do for you? They're like, did you work on x movie? I'm like, yeah, Yes, I did. Because Do you know this person, this person that this person I go? Well, yeah, they were the producers of the film. We're flying in to talk to you. The term we're flying into talk to you from the FBI is not something you want. It's scary because they like it. This is like, we have to do this in person. We can't do this over the phone. So that I was like, Oh my god, like, Where can we meet you? I'm like, just beat me at my olive oil shop, I guess. So. We, they fly in? And they tell me like this guy did this, this and this. And we're just trying to figure out where the money trail is. How do they pay you this? And that and like, what what's going on? They're like, well, we really can't say, but these guys have been indicted. You can't say anything? I'm like, No, no, no, I'm not gonna say they've been indicted. And we're building the case up against them. They're currently under arrest. And we're doing this, this and this. And I was like, Oh, my God. And they, it was fascinating to see what happened. They went to jail. These guys went to jail for tax evasion. And I won't say what the state that they were in. But it's when I when I told you this story. You're like, Oh, it's this date? I'm like, yeah, it's that's it. But we won't say this date. Yeah. But that was one. And then another one, I was doing post on another job, which was a three or $4 million movie and had a big star that everyone would recognize their name if you heard it. And the director, who was also the producer stated that they that in their cost reports, which I don't even know how you can add that as a tax credit, because it's a salary, I guess it was a rules of that state. Because it's the salary of an actor who lives in Los Angeles. I didn't know how that worked. But whatever. He said he paid him 1.5 million. And in reality, when the actor was asked, the actor said, No, no, I was paid 300,000. And the guy went to jail for like, a year and a half in a federal penitentiary for tax fraud. And I was just like, oh, my, I'm like, this guy was sitting in my post suite, we would talk in the gym, and it was like, This is serious. It's serious guys happened.

Zachary Tarica 53:16
And and and these, you know, producers, they hear, oh, well, you can give, you know, actor XYZ a million dollars, and then have him reinvest 700,000 in the movie, and so instead of the 300,000, that would have qualified for the tax credit, the million is, quote, unquote, qualifying. And that's broad. I mean, that's illegal. And, and it's important for all of us to know the rules and to understand the consequences, that, you know, when you when you mess this up, you're not dealing with, you know, the dentists that lent you 100 grand, you're dealing with the state of New York, California, Georgia, you know, it's it's the state of New York versus and, and that's a scary, that's a scary letter to get or phone call to get for sure.

Alex Ferrari 54:16
Now is this. So you obviously would recommend if you're going to go down to tax credit road, to really partner with someone who's done it a serious serious company, and or producer who has vetted experience? And you can you can do the homework and check what they've done and see if they're real and do your homework. Because if you try to do this on your own, you'll never, you just can't

Zachary Tarica 54:43
wait, I think I think you look, I don't want to belittle anyone, right, you could if you wanted to. The question is, is you have a lot of when you're building this business, your film, there are only so many hours The day and having been a part of a lot of these, I get that you are working 24 hours, seven days a week until this thing is born. And the question you have to ask yourself is, is it a good use of my time to be reading the statute in New York, you to be filling out the endless amount of applications, and going through the final application process and the audit process and, and so what I would say to any of the listeners, when you're contemplating taking money from anyone, but but especially in something where you are not going to do the work yourself, I can say whatever I want to the first require them to walk through with you the deals that they have done, and give them the ability to put you in touch with their borrowers. The selling point that I give for Forest Road, is I'm not going to pitch you on what we do. But I'm going to give you a list of the 150 projects we've done in the last however many months, call them. Ask, here's their email address, ask them about it. Because whatever I say to you, you're not really going to underwrite to anyway, because I've got an agenda, and I'm running a business and I want to make money. So call them and ask that we turn down projects, because projects don't make sense for the borrower, for you, the end user, make sure you're working with someone that's going to do the same. Make sure that if you're doing a deal that it makes sense for them, because it has to, and no one's expecting charity, but that you understand what you're getting yourself into and how it works. Uh, that that to me, it's just not a good use of a filmmakers time to be the one doing all this tax stuff in air quotes. That's, that's what I would go.

Alex Ferrari 57:13
Well, I mean, it's the equivalent of like, I'm generating a million dollars in income and using TurboTax. As opposed to or using an accountant, could I do it? Yes. Now, if you're making, if you're making $50,000 a year, and you don't have a lot of it's not very complicated. TurboTax is perfectly acceptable. But if you're making a million dollars, or you have a million dollar film, and doing it yourself is the equivalent of doing TurboTax. And you really should get an accountant or someone who knows what they're doing to help you save money, because they're gonna see things that you won't see. And whoever that whoever that is your company, if it's another company that another individual that knows what they're doing, you should really reach out to these people. And I obviously your company is a front and center here.

Zachary Tarica 58:00
Look, I would go back to every dollar invested in a film is a risk dollar,

Alex Ferrari 58:08
it's all risk.

Zachary Tarica 58:11
So and so the app on its face, there is riskier parts of the capital stack, ie the equity. And then there are safer parts of the capital stack me the MG from Netflix, right. And so no matter how you cut it, there is risk involved. What I'm just saying is, if you partner with the right person on the tax credit, you can mitigate that risk entirely, and focus on other parts that are of more risk. So if you don't partner with the right person on the tax credit, and it takes you five years to get your money back, what will likely happen is you will end up losing money on other parts, like the equity will get hurt because of the interest expense of the tax credit loan. And so pick your spots as the CEO of your film on where you want to allocate the resources is that maybe a little bit differently. What makes a great CEO is their ability to invest capital, and then in human capital. So you as a filmmaker, you as the producer of this title, you need to pick where you want to spend your energy, both on the investment of dollars, but also on the investment of people and the product offering that forest road gives is the ability to bet on us that we cannot only maximize the value of the tax credit, but get it back faster to you than anyone else in the market.

Alex Ferrari 59:55
Now that's the that's the quote. Why does it Why would it take so long? What I mean? I mean, you're working with government, so obviously government's very speedy and efficient. And it's it's super efficient and nothing ever goes wrong. So I don't know why it would take long. But I understand it might be, you know, a year, two years, but four or five years down, like, what causes that? And what do you do to speed that process up?

Zachary Tarica 1:00:30
So, the number one thing that causes delays, I'll use the college admissions example. If you were to apply to college today, and I don't actually know what it would entail, and I feel like in this COVID world, who knows what is required, and with with standardized tests, etc. But let's use the let's use the pre COVID model for applying to college. You have your high school grades, you have your extracurricular activities, you have your standardized tests, you have the big three, then you have the sub tier things, your essay, and the questions Why? Why do you want to go to the University of Michigan, and you have those as sort of the sub tier things. Now, if you submit everything all at once, in one beautiful binder, and presented to the university, the likelihood that you will get in if you have the goods, if you have the grades, you got the essay nailed. And you did well on your tests, you're going to get in if you apply with your decent grades, but you left out the essay, or your essay, but you left out the standardized tests, guess what's going to happen, the University of Michigan isn't going to call you to remind you to send in the essay, they're going to sit on your application, and you will never hear from them. And then you will wonder why you didn't get in? Well, the difference is is that with college, you have a time period in which you know you need to apply and then accept and then enroll and then event with tax credits, you'll sit outstanding in perpetuity forever. Because because you still haven't sent in your Ei n number or you still haven't submitted your operating agreement or you still haven't finalized the payment to the auditor, and the state isn't there to remind you to do it, the state's not signing up to give you money. So if you don't do it, right, I promise you, you'll never get it. And so the difference between four years and four months, is making sure you did it right and making sure you have someone to hold your hand and take you through that process, right so that everything gets delivered timely, in a way in which the state can respond to a timely,

Alex Ferrari 1:03:04
it's similar. It's similar in post where if you've never delivered a movie before, to a distributor or to a streaming service, and you do it all yourself, because you saw some YouTube videos. That's one way. And then you're going to be going back and forth with QC issues and audio pops and technical things. Because you haven't gone through or you hire a post supervisor or an online editor who's done it 50,000 times you pay them a little money and they make sure everything gets done right. Yep, it's it's it's just Pennywise pound foolish basically.

Zachary Tarica 1:03:37
Exactly right

Alex Ferrari 1:03:39
now is with COVID man How is COVID changing the business right now for you guys? Because obviously production is unless you're Tyler Perry on the Tyler Perry lot. It's It's It's a little rough right now in the in the US.

Zachary Tarica 1:03:52
production companies are treadmills, right, they work as long as they're turned on, and they're keep and they keep going. And so COVID has halted that. And we've stopped. Now we actually do have four productions that are in principle photography right now. Which is crazy. I, I do not like risk that much. But if you're making a movie today, you are taking big risks huge. On top of which we as a firm don't require a bond. So we've been busier than ever. And that's great. But it's risky. Right? And so, for us, we are looking at a couple different projects. They're going in Georgia, you're going in New Jersey, we're going in Puerto Rico, and we're pumped to be a part of them and excited about being a part of them. But it is scary for sure. And with the union guidelines and the state guidelines, and the the risks of running false positives, and the

Alex Ferrari 1:05:11
reduction

Zachary Tarica 1:05:12
actors that are in an age gap or constraint where there's real risk to their health and well being, it's scary, for sure. And I don't see it changing for a long time, I think. I think obviously, we're not on this podcast to talk about a vaccine, but I don't see any part of the Union guidelines or state guidelines changing until a vaccine is acceptable

Alex Ferrari 1:05:45
to them, and, and tested for six months to a year to see what really happens. I've been, I've been saying that forever, and people are like, Oh, don't be so negative, I'm like, I'm not being negative, I'm, I'm preparing for the worst and hoping for the best man. But I think we're at least 2022 before things start to even remotely, really start to come back up. But to come back to pre night, pre 2020, it's gonna be it's gonna be yours.

Zachary Tarica 1:06:13
Well, it's, it's a good example would be like, buildings, right? So I'll, I'll make up an example, I don't even know if this is true. But you have buildings that are all made of wood. And then one day, someone says, All new buildings that are this high need to be made with steel. And so this transition from wood to steel occurs, well, if steel is more expensive than wood, which it normally would be in that period of transition, the price to make content I'm using as a building, ie we're building. And so right now, pre production is a lot more expensive than pre production, pre COVID. transdermal water V is a lot more expensive than it was pre COVID. So the cost of making content is going higher, at the same time, that demand for content is going higher. And I think that that is a great opportunity for your listeners. And for the producers out there that want to make titles want to make content, we just need to create a way to do it safe, and we need to work with state, both local and federal governments to do it the right way. And we need to make sure that not only are we doing it the right way, but we're also doing it the right way for the investors too, right. Like the the making the $10 million movie that only has the resale value of a million dollar Hallmark. And product is not a good idea, you may have made it safely. But it's not going to end well for your investors, and therefore it's not gonna end well for you. And so that's the second, you know, negative here.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:56
And when you when you send your book my book around to everybody in the company, you also do real estate and energy credits, as well. Um, can you please tell everybody, can you please tell everybody what the other two departments said to the filmmaking department?

Zachary Tarica 1:08:15
So so the quote that I got in an email is, why does anyone waste their time working in this industry? dot dot dot, wolf.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:29
And that was probably just reading the first chapter.

Zachary Tarica 1:08:32
That was probably that was probably reading just the title page or the back of the book with with the quotes, right. So still, yeah, I look, every industry has its headaches. And we as a company, we like to focus on correlating our headaches with our returns. So if we make 80% of our money in the real estate industry, but film is 50% of our headaches, that's a bad. That's a bad business line item for us. So we like to make our headaches align with our profitability. But that being said, I know some of the other members of our team on the real estate and renewable side that bet did very much, at least enjoyed some of the chapters in this book, as it pertains to some of the horror stories that uh, that you both and your reader have lived through.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:32
Yeah, and that's the thing I want people listening to understand when when you're talking to investors. It's a very specific kind of investor who invest in in in motion pictures. Because unlike real estate, at the end of the day, you have real estate. Like you have a tangible product that you own, whether the market goes down or up. You have land, you have a building in one way, shape, or form. When you make a movie, even if you've got a sucky building, like it's badly designed, it's still a building, it has some sort of value to it inherent value to it. Whereas in a movie, if the director was bad or ego driven, or the movies horrible, and it's not marketable, there's essentially no value there. And you've basically burned a million dollars, you hopefully have enough people on your team that can kind of mitigate that risk, by story, by talent, by genre by other things like that, to actually make it a viable product. But I want people to understand it's like, it's a specific kind of individual who wants to invest in movies. And I'm sure you deal with these these guys all the time. Because it's an there's endgame different end games, some guys just want like, Hey, this is fun. I'll throw I'll throw in a half a million dollars. I just want to be part of a movie, that'll be kind of cool. Can I go to a red carpet or you know, meet some cast and be on the set, it gets cool. And other people are in it for the money, which still, to me, it's like, if you have a million dollars, would you invest it in a film? Or would you invest it in real estate? Or would you invest it in any other million kinds of investments? It's it's really interesting. And you coming from what I find fascinating, you come from a financing background, you do not come from a creative artistic background, obviously with that pitch. That's very sad. Obviously, that's very evident. But no offense, sir. But but the but if you're coming from finance, and yet you decided to open up a shingle underneath this, this company for film financing. The reason why was because again, this is crazy. It's just crazy business where it's insane, ridiculous, upside down business. I understand why I'm in it because I was infected with the film bug 25 years ago, once you once you get it, you don't get it, get rid of it. And there's a passion behind it, because I'm an artist, as well as a businessman. But you're a straight A business guy. Why did you do this?

Zachary Tarica 1:12:10
Yeah, I Geez. If you ask me on the wrong day, I'll say I'll tell you that, that I still don't know why I did it. I I think so. I got into it in a way that was just bizarre, right? A friend had asked if I would look at his investing in his film.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:31
By the way, did you invest in that movie?

Zachary Tarica 1:12:34
I did not.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:35
Okay, good. So you're okay. That That says a lot about you, I just wanted to know, because I'm I don't know who I'm talking to.

Zachary Tarica 1:12:42
I did not. And, again, just going through the motions of I ultimately ended up doing a tax credit deal with with on this first one. But what ended up happening was just this ultimate curiosity with how this could work and creating this situation where the state could win, our company could win, the filmmakers could win, and us to earn an adequate or a good risk adjusted return. So I think, you know, in looking sort of like why we're in this industry now, it's worth noting, right, we do not ask for a credit in the film, we do not want to read your script, we do not want to be executive producers, we do not want to go to your premiere, we we are like the least sexy.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:43
That's amazing,

Zachary Tarica 1:13:44
you know, film investors you will ever meet. And so we really just like the notion that we can add value to the title and the business, and also the state and make a good return on our investment. So

Alex Ferrari 1:14:05
Go ahead

Zachary Tarica 1:14:07
So from from the standpoint of, you know, why are we doing this, and so we're doing it because we've done over 150 films in a really short period of time. We've put it this year alone, close to $90 million to work in this industry, in the film industry, or in the entertainment industry, I should say. And there are a lot of projects that would have never shown up on your television during COVID or in a movie theater near you prior to March. And it's pretty great to see the jobs that it's created. It's great to see the excitement and the underlying content that exists because of our business and not to mention we've we've made we're not out here to do for free, we're making money. And we've made great returns for our investors in the company as well.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:06
Because, you know, I've, I've talked to sales agents who, who not only want a credit, but they they want an executive producer credit, they want portions of the IP, they want a percentage of the the underlining IP, they want their logo in the front of the is a producers reps that do the same thing, let alone distribution companies, you know, and getting credits for them and stuff like that. It's It's refreshing, sir, it's refreshing.

Zachary Tarica 1:15:33
You will not and maybe maybe to our fault, you will not find our name out there because we are not, we're not the ones that put in the blood, sweat and tears into making it so we are not going to ask for credit. We are not going to be executive producers. We will we are excited in our involvement in the capacity we get involved in add value. And that's it. There's there's no strings attached.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:03
I it's It's unheard of what you're what you're doing, sir, you're actually leading with with your financial mind and not the ego, which is a very, it's just strange to talk to someone like that on in the business. It's just because I've just I've just talked to 1000s and 1000s of people in this industry. And generally speaking, I've met a handful I could probably count on one hand who are just, I'm just about the business. Because we're just

Zachary Tarica 1:16:31
Becasue we are just about the business. Yeah, I again, sometimes it doesn't work because I go into a meeting and someone wants to talk to me about you know how amazing that actor did on that day shooting. And I don't know the actor they're talking about. They're referring to when they're talking about what stage they're in, in principle. And I'm just sitting here saying like, Look, I love that you're so passionate excited about it. But can I go back to you know, creating my general ledger, and making sure that we do everything the right way so that we can get your tax credit back quick

Alex Ferrari 1:17:05
And that's kind of you don't want the guy who's doing your tax credit to be, you know, on set, you know, I don't want that guy.

Zachary Tarica 1:17:12
I never understood that. Like, why do you want the accountant there? Why? I mean, I guess you don't? But why should why did they think they should be there? Like, what what what right? Do they have to be, you know, as the tax credit lender or the broker or the servicer? Why are they on your set?

Alex Ferrari 1:17:32
Because everybody and their mother wants to be on set is a general statement. I've had it 1000 times like, Hey, can I come down to set one day while you're shooting? Can I do this or that? It is just the nature of our business because we are arguably one of the sexier businesses out there in the world. And Hollywood has done an amazing job selling that sizzle over over the last 100 plus years. And that's what people people you know, and that's why there's as we'd like to call dumb money, who who put in money into a movie because they just want to experience that. That experience. It's It's It's a fascinating.

Zachary Tarica 1:18:12
Yep,

Alex Ferrari 1:18:13
It's Look, it's a fascinating business man.

Zachary Tarica 1:18:15
150 titles. Plus, I, personally, I have never stepped foot on a movie set in my entire life.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:29
Well, sir, if you and I ever do business together, I'm gonna fly you in. So this is the way we're gonna do. I'm gonna fly you onto the set. And then you're and then i'm gonna i'm going to use that as a tax credit because I'm going to fly you in. I'm going to try and pick you up in my van for $300,000 because I'm an expensive van service, and we're going to use that money towards a tax credit in Georgia.

Zachary Tarica 1:18:48
There you go. And we're gonna have to figure this out. And then I will pick up the phone and they will say, sir, this the FBI

Alex Ferrari 1:18:56
Have you? Do you know Alex Ferrari? Have you have you worked with him?

Zachary Tarica 1:19:02
Exactly.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:03
We we kid sir, we're kid if anyone's listening out there. We're kidding. It's a joke. It's just jokes, guys.

Zachary Tarica 1:19:09
It's just

Collect Alex. Not me.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:11
Hey, no, no, no, no, I just I just joke, sir. It's just jokes. I'm going to ask you a couple questions, ask all of my guests. But since you are not a filmmaker, I'm going to tailor them a little bit towards you a bit. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to deal with tax credits? In today's world?

Zachary Tarica 1:19:34
Ask dumb questions, because no one. When we hire someone at Forest Road, they get this period of time in which they can ask anything they want. We expect them to know nothing. And so because people think like, Oh, I know. Yeah, tax credit. Yeah, you get it back from the state because they do that they don't feel like they are asking, I am constantly asking the state the dumb questions. And so your dumb questions are not dumb. And they can make or break this whole thing. So I know that sounds cliche, if you are a filmmaker, first off, do not make any film without exploring both the local wherever you are located your tax credit and rebate options. But if you are making content or you're investing in content, the first question you need to be asking yourself is how am I maximizing this municipal product that can reduce the amount of money I need to raise? And then the second part is, I need to hire the right people or partner with the right people? Or do the work myself to make sure I fully understand everything that needs to happen to do this the right way.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:57
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Zachary Tarica 1:21:06
Well, let's see. I learned this one. Recently, having never wanted to actually be an entrepreneur and start a business I love working for someone else. I love just being a soldier and, and marching orders and following them. No matter what you're investing in people, until you really understand that you don't get what investing is, it could be the best idea. It could be the most Sure. fire proof investment, it's bullet proof no matter what you're going to make x no matter how you cut it no matter how smart your lawyers I've got the best lawyers in the world that have paper this thing no matter what you're investing in people and until you underwrite to that and get it nothing else matters.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:02
Absolutely, I mean, if you watch Shark Tank, you see it week in and week out. It's these guys invest in people. Exactly. They're very smart. And I've seen so many investors who go you know, we want to invest in this filmmaker. They might not be the most experienced they might know this but they have a vision and I think they could bring it to the table and let's help them get to where but we're going to invest in this person as opposed to the script only or things like that. It's all about the it is all about the people now and of course three of your favorite films of all time, sir.

Zachary Tarica 1:22:36
Wooo this is. I haven't watched I haven't watched many. I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:22:43
You are kill killing me smalls. You're killing me smalls. And you don't even know that reference because you haven't seen that movie.

Zachary Tarica 1:22:50
I tell me what movie that's from now.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:52
Sandlot

Zachary Tarica 1:22:53
I will tell you if I saw it

Alex Ferrari 1:22:53
Sandlot,

Zachary Tarica 1:22:54
I have seen sandlot it was it was a long time ago, but I've seen it.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:59
Okay.

Zachary Tarica 1:22:59
Um, okay. Three of my favorite movies. Forrest Gump. Brilliant.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
Sure

Zachary Tarica 1:23:05
Um, the music, the story. It's, it's got it all. Okay, so I'll categorize with, I like movies that have it all. It's got romance, actions, sports war, it covers all the bases.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:22
Really? It really does.

Zachary Tarica 1:23:25
Um, second one, I'm gonna go with goodwill hunting. And I'll categorize that one as acting just Robin Williams in that movie. That's mark. Like, that's just that's just pure genius. The third one. The third one, I will come trying to go with something like that, that maybe your viewers have not seen before or something off the run. Um, there's a documentary called into the arms of strangers. Okay. It is about the Kindertransport, which was basically during during the the Nazi Germany in World War Two era where the United Kingdom sent Jewish children on a train for them to have never never see their families again. To live in the homes of of UK residents, basically saved a lot of 1000s of Jewish children. It's a it's a documentary. That is a it's it's incredible. It won an Academy Award. I do not know what year it won. This is years ago. But it's an incredible story. It's informative, it is touching. And I just think I'm not a big dock person. But I would recommend it highly as as it covers all the bases of a great documentary, which is it is super informative and it's a touching amazing

Alex Ferrari 1:25:00
And where can people find you in the work you're doing?

Zachary Tarica 1:25:06
Our website is The Forest Road Co. I would say check out obviously your podcast and and, and everything that you're doing. Yeah, we, again, you won't find us on the 150 plus films unless you wait till all the way at the end of the movie where it says, You know, I think some of the filmmakers have put thanks for tax credit financing, you know, whatever, in their credits. But um, check out you know, the films that we've done. I don't know how you would necessarily search for that. I guess maybe

Alex Ferrari 1:25:44
IMDb? Oh, yeah, I'll put I'll put links, I'll put links to all of that. And in the show notes, You're horrible. By the way, you're a horrible promoter. If you say

Zachary Tarica 1:25:54
I would much prefer to promote you, then. Then our business I'm, I'm honestly, most of our businesses were I should say 100% of our business is word of mouth. So we do not market we do not do press you know any of that stuff. It's it's all ways in which we believe in whoever we've reached out to. And they've recommended us to fellow filmmakers, and everyone else.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:19
I feel that the phone and the email might ring a bit after this episode airs. So I need you to prepare yourself where we are.

Zachary Tarica 1:26:29
We are flush with cash and

Alex Ferrari 1:26:33
stop saying things like that Sir. Stop saying things like that. You don't know what you're saying? You don't know what's going to happen. I've warned guests before. I've warned guests before I'm like, Listen, don't stay stuff like this. Don't put your email out there. Because you're gonna get and I get I get a call back. And like Alex, I'm so sorry. You're right. I got like got 1000 emails.

Zachary Tarica 1:26:56
Well, I'll I'll do a better job of of the promotion. But I'm just is is, is we were really passionate about what we do. We take our job seriously. We, if you go to our website, the first thing that you will see is redefining lending. And we do want to redefine how this process works in this industry. And so forest one are not like forest Comm. Forest Road co dot com check out our website. If you look at film lending, which is the third thing I think in there, you will click on New COVID reopening updates, as well as anything below where you see state rankings, click on any state on this interactive map type in your email, we can send you a cheat sheet on how to make your film in that state. We will work in accordance with the Film Commission with you, we do all of this free of charge, we are just trying to help put the most money on the silver screen and help the filmmaker so that we get that repeat customer. We have never had a one night stand if we work with you once we will work with you again. And that's the goal.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:13
And it's it's no longer the silver screen. So it's the silver monitor. It's really it's really the silver iPad. it's it's it's a it's a rough state of affairs we're in right now with the silver screen. But that's another conversation for another podcast. Zack man, thank you so much for being so candid and informative and dropping amazing knowledge bombs about tax credits for the trip today. So thank you again, my friend.

Zachary Tarica 1:28:39
I really appreciate it. I'm a big fan of you everything that you're doing the knowledge that that that you're dropping on, on, on your listeners on the readers, the book, I can tell you not only helped us as a company, be a better friend to the filmmaker. But I think it also helped our clients and customers make better product and ultimately make more money in what they seek out to do. So a lot of appreciation to you for putting that together and for putting your work out there.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:11
Thank you sir, I appreciate it. I want to thank Zack for coming on the show and truly dropping some knowledge bombs on the tribe. Thank you so so much that if you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode and get more information on how you can get access to tax credits in your state or country. Head over to the show notes at indie film hustle.com Ford slash 447. And guys, if you haven't already, please head over to eye f h tv.com. And check out the over 2200 videos we have to help you on your filmmaking and or screenwriting journey. It is the world's first streaming service dedicated to filmmakers and screenwriters. That's at I FH tv.com. Thank you so much for listening guys. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 407: Million Dollar Self Distribution Experiment w/ Mark Toia

Right-click here to download the MP3

When I wrote my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur I hoped it would help filmmakers around the world. I never thought that a filmmaker halfway around the world would read it and change his entire marketing and distribution plan for his million-dollar+ indie film. Today’s guest is Australian filmmaker Mark Toia who created the insane indie sci-fi action film Monsters of Man.

After reading Rise of the Filmtrepreneur he reached out to tell me what he was thinking of doing. He was planning on self-distributing his film as an experiment to see if he could do it and also to prove to filmmakers around the world that you can get a great ROI (Return on Investment) on a million-dollar+ indie film without any major bankable stars.

I asked him,

“So a million-dollar Filmtrepreneur experiment?”

Mark said yes. He had already been offered multiple seven-figure deals from distributors but after looking at the convoluted fine print of the distribution contracts he decided to opt out. The payment schedules were so insane it would take Mark forever to get any money at all. The traditional film distribution path was not designed to help him get paid and if a film like Monsters of Man is having these issues the system is most definitely broken.

Then he discovered my book and down the Filmtrepreneur rabbit hole, he went. When I saw the trailer for the first time I almost fell out of my chair. I recently had the pleasure of watching the film and all I can say is:

“Monsters of Man is one of the BEST films I’ve seen in 2020. A must watch!”

To get the most bang for his buck Mark shot the film in Cambodia. He was able to hire an amazing local crew while also capturing the breathtaking locations, and culture that the country had to offer. The production value was off the charts.

Here’s the synopsis of Monsters of Man:

A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent trying to position themselves to win a lucrative military contract. They illegally airdrop 4 prototype robots into the middle of the infamous Golden triangle to perform a live field test on unsuspecting drug lords that the world will never miss. Volunteer doctors witness the murder of a village and become the targets.

I’ve been on the post-production side of the business for most of my 25+ year career and I have to say the visual effects that Mark was able to create on such a low budget is truly miraculous. The quality of the robots is $100 million+ level. I’ve seen studio films that couldn’t get to this level of VFX quality.

If you want to buy the film check out the Indiegogo campaign Mark set up for the film. Here’s what he has to say:

I would like to invite you to our crowdfunding campaign that’s a little bit different than most.  As you can see, our film is completed, as we funded it ourselves because we didn’t want our fans to be at risk of BACKING a film that could have been completed to a sub-standard level or not ever is finished at all.  So we pushed hard to complete our film to the highest level, giving our movie fans something legit to back and not putting them at risk of wasting their hard-earned dollars.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime Filmtrepreneur experiment. Can a multi-million dollar sci-fi, action indie film be self-distributed successfully? We will find out. Mark agreed to keep me updated on the progress of the film and come back next year to tell the tribe how it all went.

I can’t be more excited to share this episode with you guys. Enjoy my inspiring conversation with Mark Toia.

Alex Ferrari 2:22
Now guys, today I cannot be more excited about the show. We have on the show today, filmmaker Mark Toia who is the creator behind the insane indie sci fi action film monsters of man. Now what makes this film so unique, and it's not only the way they made it, because he was able to make this film for under $2 million. But when you see the trailer, you will understand what he's been able to do. The quality of the production is at least a 50 $200 million tent pole style film for a fraction of the cost. Now where the story really becomes interesting is that Mark was offered multiple seven figure deals by traditional distribution companies and sales agents. And he decided to say no to all of them. The reason why is that he picked up a little book called Rise of the filmtrapreneur. And when he read that book and started to dive deep down the indie film, hustle rabbit hole, he decided, I'm going to just self distribute this as an experiment. He is in a position to experiment with his million dollar plus film, to see if he can actually get an ROI with his amazing film. And he reached out to me months ago, and we've been talking back and forth. When I saw the trailer for the film, I my mouth fell on the floor, I almost fell out of my chair. And I just recently watched the film. And I gotta tell you, it is one of the best films I've seen in 2020. Without question, what he was able to achieve with his budget. And his just limitations was remarkable. And the visual effects alone which he has over 2000 visual effects shots in the movie. I mean, what he was able to do, I mean, we're talking studio level, visual effects, not just like a one or two shots, the entire film. These robots are the star of the show, and these killer robots there. And you understand once you you understand what the movie is about when we start talking about it, but these robots are the stars. And I'm really curious as he is to see what happens with the self distribution. Now he's already launched an Indiegogo campaign to help him pay for the marketing of you know, buying Facebook ads and things like that. And Within a few I think within two or three days, he was already at 150% funded, and it's just starting. So I'm really excited to have mark on and we're going to talk all about how he made the film, how why he turned down and specifically why he turned down these multimillion dollar deals for for his film, and, and how the film shoprunner method has really changed his mentality about how movies can be made. So without any further ado, please enjoy my inspiring conversation with Mark Toia. I like to welcome to the show Mark Toia. How you doing? Mark?

Mark Toia 5:41
I'm very good. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 5:42
Oh, my I'm so excited to have you on the show. I am. I mean, we've been talking for a while now. So can you tell the audience how we were even introduced how how you came into my life and how I came into yours sir.

Mark Toia 5:58
With what I remember, I was actually nursing a broken rib maybe I'm not sure I was a mountain skiing at the time. And I had injured myself a little bit suffered. I'm just sitting there in the hotel room and I was just fumbling through looking at how to sell a movie. And your, your podcast popped up. And and it was so interesting that I really dug deep into all your shows. And a lot of it was making so much sense in at the time I was going through a you know a large sales company in the states and go through the whole distribution thing. And all of a sudden, you popped up just upset and flip everything on its ear as I do, as you do and, and I thought you know what, there's an alternate way to doing this. And, and I'm not saying the traditional ways the right way or the wrong way. And this way that I'm going to go is the right way or wrong way. But I tend to like this way, because I've got more control. Right, a bit of a break.

Alex Ferrari 7:08
Yeah. And, and then you read the book and you read the book, and read my book Rise of the filmtrepreneur, you sent it over to a few people who worked on the film as well. And

Mark Toia 7:18
I've read a lot I mean, I've to tell people, sorry to go and buy your audio book.

Alex Ferrari 7:23
Yeah, you're responsible for most of my sales in Australia. You're responsible for most of my sales in Australia. So I appreciate that. You reached out to me and we started talking about it. And you were you kind of explaining what you were going to do with your film monster of man, monsters of man. And, and i when i when i get i get hit up all the time by filmmakers like, Hey, I got this film. You know, I'm thinking of self distributing, you know, can you take a look at it, and I get hit up all the time. So I said, you sent me this trailer, I looked at it. I'm like, What the hell is this like? And this was we're going back What? Six months? At least? It's been a while. What have been 12 months now? Yeah, it's been we've been talking for a while. And I was like, What is this? And then as I called, I was like, we have to get on Skype. So we started talking. And and then you said Do I read your book and I'm thinking I want to go down this road. And I'm like, oh, man, and then I started digging into the movie, and what you did and how you did it and all that stuff, which we're going to get to in a minute. But before we get into monsters of man, tell the audience a little bit about who you are. And how did you get into the business? The business of commercial advertising or the filmmakers like oh, well filmmaking in general, because I consider commercial advertising very much like Mr. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David Fincher, Michael Bay, they all started off in commercials, that is filmmaking, but just for commercials as opposed to narrative. So can you tell us how you got into the business

Mark Toia 8:57
Was a bit of a weird one. Actually, I, I, I was a steel worker. Originally, I was in Australia, we call them border makers. We, you know, we literally built buildings and anything made of steel. So but I was always a very artistic child. So I was one of those very lucky kids that could paint real life oils when you're studying is like, I was gifted artist, child artist, so but that sort of didn't really go anywhere. Due to my teacher telling me that art doesn't pay and there's a video floating around about that as well. But yes, I ended up doing a trade with my father and he got me the job and I become a boilermaker. And but I was I got it sort of got into photography at a bit of a late age, to be honest. And I admit I took a photo of a yacht because I was in the yacht racing at the time. And I sent the out of this magazine, this image off to a magazine and they sent me $50, which I remember looking at that check how they pay you for this. So easy, right? And then I did it again and another check turned out for like $200. And then the machine just my head exploded and off I went. So yeah, after the death for a few years, I sort of climbed the ranks doing you know, magazine, photography, news photography quite swiftly and it became quite lucrative. I sort of gave up my day job and, and then got into photography full blown. And then I had a client of mine asked me to do a TV commercial. And I had no idea what I was doing. I literally paid a guy, a cat and a beer to teach me how to turn a video camera on and. And I was hooked. And yeah, I did this commercial for this client, one of our clients, and one Best Director and Best cinematographers first time out in an award show. And I thought, this is for me. And that's how I got to do so in 2725 years ago now.

Alex Ferrari 11:07
So you've shot a couple of commercials basically, is what you're telling me? you've signed a few,

Mark Toia 11:11
Very early days yes now i shot one really.

Alex Ferrari 11:14
No, no, I'm talking about throughout your career, you shot a few commercials,

Mark Toia 11:18
Shot 1000s of commercials on the album. But the business has been very good to me, it's, I've traveled the world countless times. And I've and I've made my living doing that. And my wife and I, we sort of ran a small property business as well. And, you know, we've sort of combined our brains and to a point to where I could literally go and make myself a movie without sort of begging for money around the traps, or using state funding money or film funding money. And just we just, you know, got a very supportive wife and she I said, I want to make a film. And she pretty much she goes, we'll go and make a film. And I didn't I didn't get sort of barrage bias, you know, that keep me creatively free to do whatever I want. And then another reason another thing, she said, as well, she goes, I want to get, I want you to just have creative freedom to just do what you want with the film. Because it's what happens when you got a small amount of money, you got to try and make it work. But if you've got a lot of people telling you what to do, it turns up tends to be quite messy, because there's, there's a lot of other people as invested in that film. And there's a lot of stress and annoyance, and you're not sure if you can be able to pay that person back and blah, blah, blah,

Alex Ferrari 12:36
Politics and all that kind of stuff out.

Mark Toia 12:38
It's totally stress free exercise. And we're in a position to really not stress about the money side of making the movie either. So I was in a part of my life where I was ready for it. Yes. Experience

Alex Ferrari 12:55
The expert and experiment it is as we will continue to reveal in this episode. Now tell me how monster of masters of Man came to be like, how did that story come about? And you know, you know what, who what was the budget? How did you decide to like, Hey, you know what, I'm just gonna go make this insane movie.

Mark Toia 13:18
It was a very random story. I was I had, I've got a couple of other screenplays that I was really keen on doing. But one of them was multi multicam. This one here we shot in multiple countries as well. But this one is extra multi country. It was quite a large film. not crazy large. But I wanted to do this particular the movie first. It's called UFO man. It's pretty intense. X is my favorite. So the screenplay that we have at the moment, but this particular film, monsters of man was originally called robot four. It was just a working title. But I thought about it. In the back of the van and Vietnam. I was traveling around Vietnam, we're doing a film shoot with a friend of mine, and not film, she did a TV commercial. And as we're driving around the van bored, you know, traveling up and down this country. We he said I'd love to do a movie with you, Mark. I'd like to invest in a movie with you. And and I said, Yeah, okay, great. Let's do it. So he'd always started thinking about ideas in the van. Anyway, he wanted to do this treasure island thing. And I went No, no, I did. I said, I want to do something a bit crazy sky action, you know, and have a treasure island and, you know, so I sort of sadly dominated the idea. But you know, he was he's a really lovely guy. And zip His name is and he owns a bar actually in in Vietnam called Apocalypse Now. Genius genius. The guy's real film buff. He's got his own butt. Companies, he's done very well. And he's a really good friend of mine. Anyway, so he wants to invest in the film, he doesn't end up, he puts a little bit tiny, tiny little bit at the end. But, you know, he, things change for him. So he didn't really jump into the film by the end. But, you know, I literally thought that this, this, this whole concept in this vein, and then I sort of came back and started writing down notes and beat passes for it. And, and I've got a really good screenwriter that I love working with Jeff hand, and we sort of worked with it together. And I sort of, he sort of put the guts of it together. And then it sort of came back to me after notes. But I ended up like, literally rewrite, not rewriting it, but just going through the whole thing. myself. And I think he might have been a little bit annoyed with me, because I went, that's it. It's done. Two drafts. And he's like, Are you crazy? And then I got out, you know, it's my money, I can do whatever I want. So. And we ended up literally with 167 page script, which was ridiculous, obviously. And, and I thought, you know, what, screw it, I'm going to shoot the whole 167 pages. And because again, I could afford to do it. So we went and did it. But the good thing about it, is, when you see the film, there is no padding. Like seriously, you know, a lot of movies, they sit there and they just, well, what's the runtime? It's took just over two hours. You know, 167 should have been like, you know, Chris Nolan epic, right? But But, you know, but it's good, because we didn't, we didn't, we've got no padding in the movie. It is literally once it's once we set up our characters, it is a way and that's where a lot of people that have watched the film, a lot of test audiences and people that have seen it all quite shocked with how intense this film is right at the very end. And you know, you'll see.

Alex Ferrari 16:55
Do You Do you mind? Do you mind talking about the budget? Or do you want to keep that under wraps? Yeah, I'll keep it under wraps, because it's okay. Under 25 million.

Mark Toia 17:09
Look, it's it's it's under 2 million years. Okay, under $2 million. All right. Which, that's not that's real cash, not pretend cash or soft money. That's like, yeah, I'm into it. Who knows?

Alex Ferrari 17:21
Oh, no, of course. So if it's but the film looks. Looks like it's something that costs $100 million. I mean, it the quality, which I would expect from somebody with your skill set. I mean, you've shot 1000s and 1000s of commercials over the course of your career. And, you know, the tool so I mean, it's, it's the same, you know, same school as Ridley and Tony and Fincher in Bay, and Fuqua, those guys just shot so much, by the time they got the features, when like, Well, we know the tools now let's just tell a cool story. And you also kind of know how to squeeze the most bang out of your book, essentially, because that's what you've done with this because the visual effects are pretty insane at this film.

Mark Toia 18:02
Yeah, we've been very fortunate that the ad game does teach you lots of tricks. And because you've got very budgets, you know, you might have an ad that you're doing for like five or $6 million and then the next day doing a commercial $20,000 it's not these days, but you know, it's sort of like a the advertiser game is a great learning teaching tool or learning tool for feature films. But more so because the bigger your commercial the more pressure you have from you know, agencies and lawyers and you know, creatives and clients and all that you might have 20 people and attend you know, all with their own monitors telling you what they want from it so you know, understanding time pressure money on on these big commercial shoots makes making a movie so easy like be making the movie for me making the film was boring process actually because I had no I had no pressure behind me you know, there was no no one breathing down my neck telling me how to how to make how to shoot and no one telling me how to direct and now tell me that someone is speaking wrong.

Alex Ferrari 19:15
Yeah, and the end up in the bottle doesn't is not being shot properly needs to be lit better or something like that make the logo pop or something along those lines.

Mark Toia 19:23
Fine, you know, because that's the clients sure that's their job, you know, it's the project it's their skin in the game as their their job on the line. So I've no problem with clients telling me what they want because it is their money and their job. And I will respect that to them did but you know, from a movies perspective for this particular project, it was great and I it literally took me two weeks to stop looking behind. Someone it's better to me I'm doing it wrong, right. And it was it was such a such a relaxed, stress free beautiful experience and people go on either side stressful making movies oh god not sure what to do, man, it's alright. It's a lovely time it was literally like, it was just like therapy as I use it like a too much my wife said it was like a holiday for you. Every time she visited us in Cambodia, you know, I've got a beer in my mouth. And ladies, you know, giving me leg massages, and

Alex Ferrari 20:24
But I think also, and I'll use myself as an example where I mean, I've shot for clients, and then I've shot my own features. And when I shoot my own features, I basically am the only person that I have to worry about. And I, other than the stress of just trying to do it for the budget and that kind of stress, but not having a client behind you. It is a lot more relaxing, especially as you get older, you just become more comfortable in the in the onset, you can be more comfortable with the tools and you just been down the road so many times, you specifically mean literally 1000s of times, that the actual filmmaking process doesn't intimidate you at all, and doesn't bother you. It's not stressful anymore. As much as it was when you first did it.

Mark Toia 21:06
The big crews and big things and big jobs that it's very just day to day now. So yeah, walking into this film, I didn't need to 100 crew, like a lot of people have on their sets, we kept it very sort of manageable. And because I was paying for it, obviously. But it became a very easy set. Like there was no pressure on on anyone. Excellent. Can I Can you tell the actors I really, I really made sure the actors you know, were really on the Reagan and they were I mean, we literally we put I wanted not to shoot in some luxurious the back of some resort, you know, we literally went to the golden triangle with this movie is set. And we really put the actors in the real Golden Triangle and real village in in Cambodia, ocean Cambodia with this thing set. So for performances from as actors that he literally went full on Lord of the Flies, that was awesome. I mean, outside, actually, that was the saving grace that all the actors in the film would just top notch. Like they really really put their all into it.

Alex Ferrari 22:22
And but also, but because and I've had this experience as well, with visual effects. A lot of times the actors don't know what's gonna, what it's gonna look like at the end. And you could tell them, you know, and I'm sure there was like, you know, guys in suits, and you know, weird things going on and you're shooting like, they don't see it, I'm sure their reaction when they actually saw the film must have been, you know, they must have been Godsmack.

Mark Toia 22:44
So it blew their minds. Like, I remember this one, one of the young actresses she said to me, you know, after you know, well, after she gets the grades, she does crappy little movies that you do, right is part of your career jump. And because he's just watching this guy running around and spending soup, you know, pretending to be a robot and you know, she didn't feel it, right. But she was acting top notch. She's She's probably thinking, I'm going to save the day here with my amazing actor. But when she saw the finished film, like God, she was like just gobsmacked. She was like, Oh my goodness, I'm part of the real movie, like a proper movie like a, you know, it's these that is a really gonna, and I hope they do is they're going to really use this movie to jumpstart their careers even more, I hope.

Alex Ferrari 23:36
Fantastic. Can you tell everybody what the movies about?

Mark Toia 23:40
Have you? Well, it's actually a few things, because I didn't want just one story following one group of people or one person. So I've actually got about about four, maybe five story arcs in it. And you follow certain characters through their scenes of you know, through the movie, but the core of it is the CIA crap CIA agent, with a robots manufacturing guy have decided to try and sneak their way into some military contract. But they firstly they need to do a couple of illegal tests of these robots to see if it'll really work. And before this guy presented, you know, to the military to sell and shit goes wrong as it normally does. And the other thing too, is we've got another angle there where the there's a whole bunch of young doctors that just happen to be doing immunisations where they dropped this robot or these robots into this village to test on in the right and the doctors actually. The doctors actually, you know, see the this crime really, of these robots murdering this village. And then within there, we've got a tech a tech group. That's part of the whole robot. team which was sort of lied to they said they'll just doing the surveillance doc tests but now it becomes like a huge murder mission. And these technicians don't really want to be a part of it either. They just think it's wrong. And and also we've got you know, there's a, there's a I don't get to take this, there's two more story strands in it, which are really really strong as well a bit you know, a young boy in there that's, that loses his parents and he's, you know, he's got to survive in this mess as well with with these with a navy seal. That's an A well, Navy SEAL that's in there as well, that just happened to be hiding when one of these villages that doesn't want to be found. And there's a relationship there, that builds quite nicely as well. But it is quite a bit going on. And that's what's made the the movie quite appealing to our audiences that have seen it so far. Are these big producers that have watched it? It's not just, you know, a robot movie going and killing people. It's actually this, this drama. It's quite deep or So yeah, I just didn't want it to be legacy be too simple a movie

Alex Ferrari 26:10
Definitely. It is not a simple movie. That is it. That's for sure. So the thing I love about what really is terrifying about the the robots is that design of the robots are kind of similar to real robots that they're testing out there right now military, because I've seen some of these, you know, military robots that they're testing out there right now that they can walk up, right. And if they, you know, you can push them, you can knock them down, but they get back up. And they have a similar design, which is more terrifying, because oh my god, it's not like this out of this world. Like, you know, oh, this is never discussed never actually happened. No, this is really, I don't know if you did that on purpose or not. But the design is similar to what I've seen, just on the internet, you know, with with, you know, these kind of robots. Was that intentional?

Mark Toia 27:04
Yeah, yeah. A bit more current day. And, you know, with Boston Dynamics, building those particular robots that are sort of rolling around on the ground, and all that sort of stuff, I go, what's the next generation pass that? Will it be ours, you know, what I mean, they're a little bit more robust, a little bit more solid units, that they can take bullets, you know, explosions, some that's tough and strong, heavy, heavy, and crazy and intimidating, and all that. So I just thought, well, let's step it up. And because I'm from an engineering type background, I really got into the whole mechanics of it, because I used to work on a lot of robotics and NP medics and, and stuff in my early days, so I knew all about what you know, surveys do and hydraulic junctions and so forth. So when we were designing the robot, with a really clever dude from Russia, he, he his, he had this Russian flame that was all very industrial. And I really liked his style, but he really didn't understand I had to follow a human underneath. So really, we really needed not to have arms clashing and legs clashing, like when it did things or the shoulder clashing with the train. So we had really had to figure out a design and I was literally sitting him over all these real components, or images of real mechanical components that we had to use for shoulders and elbows, so then he would then design something similar, that would literally work for real. So that's what made the robot so. So, so quite real looking is because we all knew we were really using, or design styles from real, actual machinery that would work for real if this thing's legit. And I didn't have the money to ring up with her and get a million dollar robot made up. So people, you know, and then I thought, well, we're gonna have to make this thing super high poly because I wanted to do close ups in 4k, right? bicep portraits. And from our advertising days, we did it all the time that these these 3d models get so large, and so big and so heavy, you know, future in space. So we redid the design these things, and so many of them to through the stages of the movie, to where they could handle a 4k camera, right on their face. And down to the point of you know, we can see fingerprints on the steel, you know, when you tuck them in? Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 29:33
How did you? How did you handle the technical, the technical challenges, I mean, that I know what that takes, that is a massive amount of data. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Mark Toia 29:52
It's a lot of data. But what site this actually was a program called redshift. And we just we had all these big PCs made up with a lot of rendering power, just to render these things out. Most of all, most of my work was all done on Macs, obviously, but that that particular job of rendering it out was all, all PC based because we just needed these big video cards at the time to do that, but yeah, redshift really saved us. And we were doing massive renders of which we're not taking on at all. So in the compositing, I did a fair bit as well with my one of my special effects guys, Ray or Teague, and we literally between him and I, we did all the comping of over hundreds and hundreds of shots yourselves. In my spare time, he was on it full time.

Alex Ferrari 30:45
How long did this take? How long does this movie take from conception to final?

Mark Toia 30:51
Well, typically, it was finished. Yeah, a year ago, because we went through that traditional sales route. So we sort of blew a year just in that. So but the movies literally been happening. From the moment I thought about it in the back of that van, til you know, I've got a finished harddrive with the movie on it, probably three and a half years. And you were just doing a basically as a side hustle. I shot the movie properly. Sure, of course. But really, you know, post production, like editing, I just had to go back and do my day job, my real job. So I was editing in my spare time while I was on airplanes, in hotel rooms, wherever I was at the time, on holidays, the weekend. But again, that was therapy to editing the film. For me, I loved it. It was commercials day in day out on my own commercials. But the edit the film was it was so relaxing, it was great to see a scene unfold. And because I shoot multiple cameras as well. So we shot that movie with, you know, four and five cameras or four cameras mainly. And, and it's great for actors, you know, the actors really got into the multi camera shooting because then they could just like theater, right? We just go we blocked out the scene, amazingly, and we just know coverages was second to none. We just really really nailed everything. And it was performances off camera that you would never normally get shoot. But having four cameras, you got it. So with so much extra filler in so many shows. And you shall what read? Here we shot everything with radius.

Alex Ferrari 32:23
What was the resolution, you shout out? I can shout it at 8k

Mark Toia 32:28
630 because we had some dragons at the time as well. And Jared, from Red sent us, you know, one of the latest aliens as well. So which saved us in the cave scenes, that's for sure.

Alex Ferrari 32:40
Not really, because of the light then because of the light sensitivity.

Mark Toia 32:45
We got into a cave system in Cambodia, which is crazy, like we need, I'll send you the film. But have a look. But you'll know I think we know we're good. Now. The year you'll see some amazing cave scenes in there. And we literally we I because I didn't I wanted to use the most minimal of light in this case, because when I walked into the cave, there were like shafts of light coming through little holes and all that stuff. So our field lights were very minimal because I wanted to keep the natural ambience of that cave coming through.

Alex Ferrari 33:21
Right? When you see it a little make sense. So you were you were the cinematographer as well. Yes. So you were the DP the cinema saw. He was dp, the director, the producer and the editor and also VFX VFX supervisor, I'm

Mark Toia 33:34
assuming is what onset I was. But I gave that role to another guy when I when I got home because I sort of was too busy with other things to be there too. Oh, actually now, I suppose I was the VFX super on the whole job. does everything literally to come back through me. And you know what really, really saved us as well. It was a party or an app called frame i O yes. And we live because we were farming, you know, hundreds and hundreds of shots around the world to certain companies and operator scoping for animation for motion tracking for paint outs for everything right. So a lot of that little rats and mice II type work got sent off around the world and frame and everything came back to me on my phone. So while I'm set on set, I'm looking at my movie on my phone and go and collect Okay, and I had a system going with all the post people when you see the green approved button, you can bill me right and so they loved it. I couldn't wait to see that little green button approved button pop up. So another thing too was pretty hard on the VFX guys because I didn't want to muck around too long with approval processes. And, you know, people tend to hire the cheap guys, but you shouldn't you should hire the very expensive experienced guys because they become cheaper overall, because they could do a shot and maybe one day with a cheap guide. next four days, all of a sudden, the cheap guy becomes more expensive than the, than the expensive guy. And so, myself, I'm very knowledgeable in visual effects anyway, so I can get shows pretty quickly, who was, who was doing well and who wasn't. So you had to sort of be in a game a bit for this for this movie, because I wanted it to be, you know, ILM, top quality, or, you know, top top shelf, I didn't want it to be cheap.

Alex Ferrari 35:28
Yeah, it was resting on good effects as well. The thing that I want people listening to understand is that I've been saying this for a long time, the reason why you were able to make a film like this is because of all the tools you've put in your toolbox over the course of your career. And without those tools, you would have had to hire a cinematographer, you would have had to hire an editor, you would have to hire all these other and that's film doesn't become it's not feasible anymore. And I do something similar in my world, all the stuff that I've been able to do I do it because of all the tools I put on my toolbox, how can you please express to the audience how important it is to even if you don't add those specific skills to your toolbox to understand enough, like what you just said, I understood enough about VFX to know who was doing a good job and who wasn't doing a good job. And that saved you probably 1000s 10s of 1000s of dollars. And in the end, so can you just express how important that is to the audience

Mark Toia 36:21
will vary. I like to mentor a lot of young filmmakers. And this film actually is going to be used as that as as an experiment for them as well. But the I've always tried to push a lot of filmmakers to learn as much as they can. And you know, like from a program point of view, I went through, you know, my first program I've learned was Photoshop, and then when to you know, avid and then Final Cut Pro seven and then premiere then FCP X then resolve then you know as from editing programs, go compositing programs us started on like after effects, then I jumped on the flame, then we went to nuke, then I've tried motion, I tried fusion, you'd have given them all a really good go. But you've done want to be like a part time learner them, you really want to get deep into every one of them. So you really understand how to you know, to write code, script, everything. So you really can get the best from each of those programs. And then you can figure out what's going to be fast and time saving for you. Because the more time you have, you know, in finding the right program that's fast, that delivers the quality thing, you can then put that spare time into your credit, finishing, you know, assets. But learning all those programs for me was hugely beneficial. And especially in 3d. I mean, I'm not a great in 3d because I need to be as 3d artists, you need to be 3d retires, I fly in a helicopter, right? Every time I change, like Maya, for instance, a new camera needs that. Yeah. And because I wasn't in there enough, I just literally lost my way with Maya, in like cinema 4d is like really easy. You know, there's a lot of great 3d programs out there, you can get a hold of I want to wrap my head around unreal, when you know, when all those movies Get out of the way in. But it's a whole, there's a whole world of technology out there, they can really benefit your filmmaking forevermore. And it makes making movies so so so much easier. So in fact, like, we were getting quotations for our film, in its current gaze, right? between two and $5 million for post production. And really, we got it down to using all outsource freelancers, as well as us doing stuff, but we've managed to keep the prices at the under 350 grand

Alex Ferrari 38:52
for all the VFX of this film,

Mark Toia 38:55
all of the the effects of a wheelchair that might say I'm not counting my labor that I you can't

Alex Ferrari 39:01
you can't count your labor because then it astraeus astronomically.

Mark Toia 39:07
But the reality is, you know, to save several million dollars by by understanding and post production yourself that you're getting into indie filmmaking because the secret of making movies future forward is trying to who can make the best movie for the least amount of money right is gonna win this race. You don't I mean, and that's why I've had a lot of movie offers in the last sort of six months is there's a lot of producers out there and I'm a goodness you made that for how much so the all these producers that now you know calling me up crazily now trying to get me onto their films because they know that's what they have to do as well. And you know, a lot of them is a lot of producers really that just survive and the producers offsets and all that but thank you for the movie bonds are not right. They just lost their job. But there's other producers out there they go, No, we literally want a high quality film. And we don't want to spend the, the 10s of millions or hundreds of millions that we normally do here. So having someone like me on the side, really, is really beneficial for them, obviously.

Alex Ferrari 40:16
Yeah, the way the marketplace is right now you can't do what they you can't make a movie like you did five or 10 years ago, because the marketplace is so changed that the value of the actual movie has diminished. And it's continuing to diminish. Every year that goes by as far as just like, what's what's the actual value of the film, a film like yours, in 2005 would have sold for 10 $15 million comfortably probably purely because of what it is and how you built it. But in today's world, it's it's just a tougher sell. It's really tough. And all the edits everywhere, even everybody in Hollywood is feeling that kind of pinch that you have to create high quality product at a low budget. And if you could do that you will work you will work anywhere in your film is definitely a calling card for that without question.

Mark Toia 41:06
Yeah, I think we're, I have no idea if we're gonna do well or not, because, you know, we're not selling it through the traditional means

Alex Ferrari 41:15
we had before it. So let's get into that a little bit. So Alright, so you spent the year out there in the traditional sales, you know, going to sales agents going to film distributors. And my, when I saw the film I knew like you must have gotten some offers, you must have gotten some some serious offers from from serious distributors, because of the quality of the film because like I said, I've seen I get bombarded with independent film on a daily basis. I see a lot of stuff. When I saw your film, it definitely stood out. And I'm sure most distributors who saw it they go, Oh, we can sell this everywhere in the world comfortably and make a lot of money with it. So what was your experience going down the traditional film distribution

Mark Toia 41:58
path? was good, good and bad. We hope that with we hooked up with CIA, excellent. Okay. And the end looked at is a company that will go down, you know, there were, they did all the right things from their side, you know, they introduced me to all the right people, and they put the movie in front of all the right. distributors and studios and all that sort of stuff. But the reality is, you know, you're right, the market is completely congested with content. You know, you go to these film festivals, and you find out there's 25,000 feature film submissions.

Alex Ferrari 42:44
to Sundance. Yeah, Sundance was I think 22,000 or something like that. Yeah.

Mark Toia 42:47
Is it Cannes is the same and Toronto same. And then you look at the end of these festivals, and it's all a dismal failure, right? They get it one film sold for $1 million. For some crap like it oh my god, it's just like, you know, I literally made my movie five years or three years too late. And everyone was telling me Oh, you should have been here two years ago. It was all that shit. You know, you should have been here, you know, the typical surface story, right? You should have been here yesterday, the waves are. Exactly. You know, and I'm and I'm listening to a bunch of people that are like AFM in Toronto, you know, other filmmaker friends I have? And they said, fuck, it was a bloodbath. Yeah, you know, it was like, back, you know, we got offered like peanuts for our film, and, and then it sort of resonated with us. Because some CIA, you know, that that was trying their best they did everything that they did, right. I'm assuming and hoping and praying to me, but there, but you know, it's not their fault that the market was rubbish, you know, I mean, it's, and the thing was, you know, distributors aren't buying one movie now for $5 million, or you're trying to get you to sell and move with five or $10 million, that they're now going to offer you $15,000 or $20,000 or $50,000. You film. And you know, we did get some big seven figure offers for are moving, but the, the contracts attached to so convoluted, and the payment plans are so long winded and it's it's it's too much of a process now, if this is where COVID might have saved me from myself, but put it this way, if COVID didn't happen, I probably would have sold the movie this way, and just get it out their office and just Yeah, whatever. I'll get my money back. We'll walk away. Do you know I mean, that was that. But the reality is COVID hit and I'm sitting there with Alex Ferrari, Alex Ferrari. You know, I'm eating too much. I'm watching too much crap on the internet. I'm watching too many movies, and I've got time on my hands. And I went, the fact that I'm gonna sell this myself. Because at the end of the day, these distributors really are just gonna dump my movie on all these TV ads. And that's what's enabled platforms around the world over the next 1020 years. And they're gonna make money off my movie, which is fine. That's what they do. But also thinking, well, since I've got all this time on my hands, I might as well just do exactly that myself. And that's what we're doing.

Alex Ferrari 45:28
Yeah. And I remember when you when you call me, like, Alex, I read your book, and it's completely screwed me up. Because I was gonna go one way. And now I'm when I'm like, and you and we, we started really talking about how we could do what you could do with this film. And, you know, we started brainstorming and how to do it. Because it's, it's, I mean, your film is, is it, we were talking about this before we came on air. The film specifically, is a little broad. It's not like a niche film. Like, it's like, it's about, you know, a specific segment of the population or a religious or political or something that you can, like sink your teeth into. But what it does have is that is so effing cool. And, and it stands out purely because of the visuals. Because you don't even on even in, you know what it is it's an original tentpole film, in my opinion, it's it's an original studio film at an indie budget. And that is something and it doesn't have an Emmy, you have one, you have one, you have some great actors in it. But you don't have any major movie stars and you have any bank, we get a Will Smith's not running around in this. So it's not the star power behind it, the star is the robots, and the action and the visuals of it. And that's so rare, because to be impressed by visual effects, or to be impressed by a concept is such a rarity in film in general, because studios do that all the time, though, they'll dump $100 million in visual effects in the movie, you'll bomb, it'll just it won't even see the light of day. But yet you are able to create something that I mean, captures people's imaginations. And like you said it's timely. The where it's being shot, how it's being shot. I think that's what makes this this film such an amazing experiment for the film to printer method. Because you're just like, well screw it, let's just do this. And that's what I love about Umar, he was just like, I am gonna turn down seven figures. I don't I don't care. I'm just gonna do this now. Because now it's principle. I'm gonna do this myself.

Mark Toia 47:41
Yeah, because I'm not doing it to wreck the system. Because No, of course not. You know, a lot of people won't do what I'm doing because there's either too lazy or it's too much work too much effort, whatever. But there's investors and there's other things like that you have a very unique situation. Yeah, I've got a unique situation. And you know, the traditional way is there, it's there. Don't expect to make it much money that way. If you go to sell your indie, indie film, or if anything, you the whole back end thing is really a myth. You know, the reality realities are, you know, if you're going to hand over your movie to the sky to sell it on your behalf. He wants to make money as well, or he or she that that that distributor wants to make some dollars they're not doing they're not going to sell you a movie for nothing. I mean, they, they have got the they've got mouths to feed staff to feed that one as well. So the the distributor doing that on your behalf, but he's, you know, he's not your buddy. He's just trying to make a few bucks off. Yeah. And, and the reality is, you movie's not gonna make a ton of money anyway, so there's not much to give around. Right? And, you know, like, the whole theatrical thing people go Oh, can't wait for this to go to movies, because sadly, it's not going to go to theaters. And they go Why does it well, the problem with that is everyone but me will make money. Right? Yeah, like that's that's a whole different beast again, you know what I mean? So you're not playing

Alex Ferrari 49:10
I mean, I obviously because of COVID it's a it's a different I'm not sure how it is in Australia right now.

Mark Toia 49:17
I don't know a single person. I know a lot of film directors, a lot of producers that make movies I mean, hundreds of movies. And we always have this chat and theatrical distribution is it's been a dead duck for many, many years for all of them. They sort of use it almost like an ad to try and sell their movie that's about the only purpose it has the cinema and makes the money that distributor makes money off of those technical deals but the actual guy that made the film pipe that film made the film that don't really get a hell of a lot from it. So that's why I decided not to worry about theatrical so much and I'm you know with now I'm looking at like Moulin and you know Greyhound and What's that movie? It just came out that I just watched it the other night. I think it was we learned but trolls, you know, they're all just going straight to premium p VOD

Alex Ferrari 50:10
is they're calling a premium video on demand.

Mark Toia 50:12
Right? And that just and they're making bank, and they're not even worrying about the theatrical release anymore. And I think that's probably Yep. We're good. Yes. Probably the it's probably the way to go moving forward. I mean, I've you know, I've got a theater in my house. It's lucky, I can watch it in the theater at any time. But it's,

Alex Ferrari 50:38
well, a lot of people have their own home theater.

Mark Toia 50:41
So many people have amazing TVs and theaters in their home now. And they used to be locked out from theaters during COVID. It's, you know, I literally, I love watching movies on my iPad right now, literally sitting in on my chest with my Bose headphones on. The quality of the image that you never see in a cinema is just remarkable. I watched Interstellar the other night, just on my iPad. I'm going oh, my God, it's so many colors and tones and things I've never seen before. Because I've not watched it on a proper monitor. It's just paint on these big giant projectors, which aren't.

Alex Ferrari 51:17
Right, but Mr. Mr. Nolan must be rolling over right now. If he hears this.

Mark Toia 51:24
Sorry, Chris. But he's, yeah, that's right. But as you know, is a lot of amazing movies that aren't rewatching you know, apples 6k monitors, and I've been watching my peoples movies on these on these monitors are on my 8k TV. Right. And you go, Wow, I've never seen the movie looks so good before. So and I'm really enjoying the movie experience now with all these latest TV. So no, you are and you are no cooler. I would have loved my movie to do this technical thing. But the COVID Yes. COVID is a little rough.

Alex Ferrari 51:58
I I personally think you could have done you probably would have done well. If you did a a for walling, or booking the theaters yourself theatrically that might have done well, because I've had I know a lot of case studies and experiment and filmmakers who do well with that your film probably would have been a good candidate for just calling up a movie theater and going Hey, do you want to book my film? I promise you that book it and and get and see what would happen. And you would get a 5050 split with a theater. So that could have done well. But with COVID as well. It's it's a whole other conversation right now. And it would be a different taste. Yeah, it's a completely different.

Mark Toia 52:36
I've had some cinema owners bring us for the film,

Alex Ferrari 52:39
I'm sure.

Mark Toia 52:41
But you know, I went and saw a tenant the other night at the cinema with my son. And we were the only people sitting in a theater, you know, it was a guy Well, you know, anyway, but that's COVID times. So you know, the next movie I do if I do another movie, I'll might rethink and I think he just got to flex with the time, you know, no,

Alex Ferrari 53:02
yeah, it's not like it you know what, you know, as, as you and I have been coming up over the years before it was pretty, pretty rock solid that the process, he made a movie on film, he made a print, you went to the theater, then I went to home video and then but that was that was a process and it stayed like that for a long time. But now, it changes monthly. Like it's like p but p VOD was not a thing in January, like in January, premium video on demand really was not a thing. Not a serious thing at least. But now it's been forced to be a serious thing. And you know, all of the things have changed because of not only COVID, but just generally the marketplace. It's It's remarkable. Now, how are you applying the entrepreneur method to the film? What are your plans with it? I know you're doing an Indiegogo, what what, what revenue streams? Are you planning to build for the film?

Mark Toia 53:54
Probably not as detailed or as fast as what you've recommended? Because I need to get, I've decided it's hard to focus on 10 things? Sure. Well, I mean, so I'm going to focus on two or three things well, fair, and the big biggest one is, for any movie, sitting on a shelf at a digital shelf is you have to sell. Right? You've got to get it out there to the world. And hence it's that's where the Indiegogo thing is sort of, you know, my wife doesn't want to keep dipping her hand in the pocket in the back book the whole time. You know, or our man is the house, but you're not. I mean, it's It's COVID time, so we got to be a little bit frugal. So, marketing, the film is a big deal for me. And since I'm from an advertising industry of 25 years, I've literally been armed to the teeth with good marketing and knowledge. You know, I've been literally taught by the best of the best from the biggest companies in the world. And they've all taught me really how to sell my movie at one point with inadvertently right So, and so far, believe it or not, we've had an unbelievable trailer launch. I literally look at YouTube, I've got like, right now just looking at my, my big screen here. And I've got like this about 50 movies on this YouTube page. And we have got mixed, I think June, moving during that just come out. And that's it. We are actually the biggest play trailer and next to June, we've even beaten Batman one particular giant website. So, you know, we're at like, almost 850,000 views and Batman was is eight is 800,000. So we've beat that number 50,000 days. And that's only on one on one side. So you know, the good thing about YouTube is is they they're looking for revenue from YouTube. They just steal your trailer and put it up on the website, but they are serving as a great service service because the list again has all this amazing free advertising. And my movie says literally it's Yeah, it's we sort of lost count at 7 million ish. And it's

Alex Ferrari 56:27
Very quickly too within I think within 30 days now.

Mark Toia 56:32
Now, it's only been out Oh, yes, just hit 30 days now. So it's not even that it's 24 days, but yeah, it's it's crazy. It's we we always hoping for maybe in total, maybe a couple 100,000 views, but to get into the millions, like that's tentpole stuff, right,and you're not absolutely,

Alex Ferrari 56:53
absolutely, absolutely, that's

Mark Toia 56:55
Very, very happy, obviously very happy with that. And I think I, you know, we contributed then we teamed up with a PR company in LA, which will just help push that as well, simultaneously. So they were the kindling, you know, and all the social stuff was the was the fire and took off and, you know, the media, you can't even count social media, because so many people have shared it, I have no idea what the numbers are there. And we've, we've, we've paid a little bit in social media to push it, but really, that's just a small amount of money really, because we just want to understand their market and who's really hitting on this thing. We found out that, you know, men or males between 25 to 35 is our biggest market. So and and it's you know, fans and suddenly different genres to the horror genre. So the good thing about good analytics is from from especially Facebook, is you really get the dig deep into who's really looking at your movie. As though our targeted advertising come December, when we actually released the film is going to be pretty intense in sorry, if I'm gonna bombard you with more advertising,

Alex Ferrari 58:07
Oh, no, there will, there'll be plenty of it. And I and I will be the tribal know about the film, I am going to be promoting it fairly heavily as well. And, and I will be putting the trailer up very soon on indie film hustles YouTube, as well. Now you also so you have you know, you have merged that you you're creating for the project, which looks so cool that I already I'm like, I need the T shirt mark. So you need to make this happen. So you've got merged, which is going to be great. And I think mirch just on itself. Regardless of the film, it's cool, it's just a cool looking t shirt that it's associated with the project is another thing. So that is a revenue stream that you can keep going with. And then now you also have created a massive online business unlike an online course or almost like behind the scenes of this film.

Mark Toia 58:56
So yeah, well really that's just an Indiegogo thing to help us with you know, the the money from Indiegogo is literally just going to get funneled straight back into our second wave advertising. You know, when we release the videos really adjust them most are really want to share them. Really the way we did this whole thing. None of me because we've broken lots of rules. We've done everything apparently the wrong way. We've shot a big movie with a minimal crew, we've done big post production with a minimal team, we've done lots of things that are not normal. The way we've done everything, including the marketing and self distributions, I really want to share that because there's a lot of part of a lot of young filmmakers out there that really want to make a movie, and I'm going to well, you know you've you're a great asset for that community. Now, if people have a little bit more, you know, money and find a bit more, here's another way of going even bigger again, instead of it The big cliff, you know, a quiet little movie. If you want to make a big genre, action thriller, you can actually do that. But there's these processes you need to do to do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:14
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And I'm excited

Mark Toia 1:00:26
to share those those the way we did it, and you know, a few people that you should possibly ring because there's a lot of people in all these countries around the world. They think they're overcharging you. But it's actually like 1/10, the price you'd normally pay in the Western world. You know, if they do such a good job, I pay them even a little bit more. Because there's no way I could have got a local guide to do that job for that money. And even the the local post companies here in Australia and America everywhere they give they send all their work offshore. Right? So it's about finding these artists around the world to really jump in and you and the secret of that is you pay them fast and you pay them well Don't. Don't rip them off. You know, they'll do a great job if you look after every one of them. But when it comes to that high end stuff, it's I always bring in the right people you know, I've always I brought in a great first ad. Great camera, good camera operators. He got a not lit don't don't bring in the wrong people to help you make that film. Because it will become painful.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:36
Yeah, Penny one penny wise pound foolish, essentially.

Mark Toia 1:01:40
Because I didn't want to get out you know, I want to do it. I want him to make this movie student films style without the street. I didn't want all that chaos that goes with student films I wanted order and preciseness and and effectiveness Better yet, but literally, I couldn't afford to have any circus going on in the background

Alex Ferrari 1:02:02
Are you planning to send you probably to release a blu ray because it is a 4k print? You have a 4k master of this. So it's it seems a perfect candidate for blu ray release?

Mark Toia 1:02:14
Its a bit there's a company I'm gonna team up with that because I not sure I can be bothered with doing all that. Rainy Day stuff. But, but yeah, that there will be at the time and I'm sure that's gonna all release at the time. T shirts, I'm, you know, you got me going that might have been on your show or someone else's. But they said they made about 300 grand from selling their movie and $900,000 and T shirt sales. Oh, yeah. And our Yeah, let's do the T shirts, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:43
You should absolutely do the T shirts, you leaving money on the table, if you don't do stuff like that. I mean, there's,

Mark Toia 1:02:48
I think that, like, every second day for a T shirt I've got, I'm on T shirt company in it. Yeah, COVID are down the whole t shirt system. But it's, you know, we've got a guy and we've got some samples finally coming to us shortly. And, and it's, you know, we'll just, we'll just when, again, we will advertise that we're not just going to dump it on our web page and hope for the best we will literally push that. Right, you know, all of the things and that's all part of that revenue making. There's a companies that have rang us up for toys and yes, and you know, because this these robots make again, I don't know how many people have called me guy, are you making them?

Alex Ferrari 1:03:28
Okay, so first of all, I'm gonna, I'm gonna throw this all out there. So I'm going to just give you all these ideas right now. Okay, first of all, you absolutely need to be targeting the comic book, you know, Geekdom world, the nerd world, because this film is built for Comic Cons. It's like built for that kind of world as well as all the other niches. So if you create mcats, for this, and you call up sideshow, or you call up one of these companies, and partner with them on creating, and there's tons by the way that you don't have to, and not only the big boys, but you could also find smaller companies who would be willing to, you know, license this from you all day. action figures, toys all day, you should be able to create because, again, that there's a movie attached to it is helpful. But just the design of the robots is so darn cool. And the things that you can build around that war, you can build an entire ecosystem of a world around just these these robots, and what they're doing and the whole comic books, graphic novels, all day you could be build theirs, you really could be doing. You could be making a lot of money with this project if you start venturing out into all these other areas. Because it's just the perfect candidate for it. Not every film could do that. Like on the corner of ego and desire. Not so much with the toys. Not so much for the filmmaking. I though I would love to see some action figures of the film. Just trying to sell their movie. But, but this is a perfect, perfect candidate for that entire world to do. And I think you'd be foolish, you'd be leaving a lot of money on the table, if you don't start going down that and it's again, doesn't have to be that you physically are doing it, you can actually partner with these companies and get a royalty and just get royalty checks on this stuff

Mark Toia 1:05:23
I'm looking at this already. It's the, you know, I'm a little bit time poor, because I got so many other things going on. But I will be investigating and doing it further. That's for sure. within it, you know, we've already had, you know, people go, are you doing a sequel? Like, I'm going to the movies don't even out yet, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:05:43
No people

Mark Toia 1:05:44
The movies work for us and that whole other way? You know, from a revenue point of view, it will, you know, I've literally, this is part of the experiment. experiment was, I'll go and make a movie. I'll sell it, I'll do everything. And we'll just see if it's actually a feasible thing. Because, you know, like I said, I know, you know, hundreds and hundreds of directors and producers that have made movies and a very, very small percentage of the axes have made, OK, money from most of them will pull a bit of a wage out of them. But that's about it. So a lot of people do Netflix shows at the moment, or my friends and they, you know, they, they make their wage. That's all they make. They're hired. No one's making bank, right. They're just literally making their own jobs. You know what I mean? And so, I'm going down this route going, alright, if I make a movie like this, and I sell it like this, is it a feasible business model? You know, will I just keep making movies until I croak? Or am I going to do other people's movies, and that's where, which I touched on earlier is, you know, we've had, like, 30 odd movies sent to me, like the literally the moment this trailer came out. And, and beforehand, people wanted me to do the big movies, and some of them, one of them was the 180 million bucks, and other one was like $120 million. Another one was 80 million, there's a $50 million movies. And they're all big, big players. And it's great conversations, it's really good talking to these guys. So there's another way, you know, this movie as an experiment, was it a showreel piece for me for my, for my, you know, abilities to do an actual movie and, and you know, all these people have seen the film, they all love it. And they just through all this work. One guy said I was gonna give you a little $2 million scripted, but can you check out this $50 million one instead, right. And so it's a very lovely conversations. Now whether these guys yeah, they're all spinning plates, they're all trying to align moons, I have no idea if they're gonna get their movies up or not. And they're all credible big players, and they own and they have made hundreds of movies. And but I think this day and age of COVID, who knows, I could be sitting on a, you know, movie sit next year, you know, blowing stuff up, or I could be just doing my own movies, or it could be back to doing TV ads, I have no idea.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:18
So and that's another thing I you know, I really stress in the in the film shoprunner method is that it doesn't always have to be about making the money back on the film. If you get a job, or you get something else, like I did a short film that I did for 50,000 bucks. And I did not make 50,000 bucks off that short film. But I got jobs as a director that easily paid for that over the course of of the next few years. So it's all about the end game with that where you want to go and you are, you are a brave soul willing to just and you have the ability to do an experiment. And that's why I'm so fascinated with monsters of Ben with you how this all turns out. And that's why I'm gonna keep the tribe very up to you, we'll come back on the show if you if you want to come back and keep me updated on the going ons of what is going going on with the film because it is kind of a once in a lifetime experiment. Because this doesn't happen, Mark. This is not something that happens.

Mark Toia 1:09:20
I'm sorry, a lot of books telling me that a lot of people are telling me you don't make movies like this. That is unique. And I am in a very fortunate position to do so. You know, my wife, my wife said, Just give it away for free on YouTube.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:36
Don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. If you're gonna do that call me.

Mark Toia 1:09:40
But it's more like I think, you know, she was thinking I'll just jump on these big 10 poles and just, you know, we'll get our money back that way. Right? Right. But I really wouldn't want to rely on other people too much. You know, I'm happy to go and jump on these big films. That's fine. I just can't do them. I think it'd be fun but the reality He is I can't rely on those people either, you know, you've got to actually rely on your own efforts.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:07
And COVID right now is really exposed that I think a lot of directors specifically, let's just talk about our people, directors, specifically, I think they've come to the realization that like, Oh, I literally am relying on my entire livelihood on, on getting clients on getting gigs on working for somebody else. And if that those jobs dry up like they have during COVID, I'm screwed, as opposed to building your own business, building your own projects, building your own revenue streams, whereas you like you can survive with no jobs for as long indefinitely. If you're able to build online businesses or build on other sorts of businesses. Like you, you have a property business, you have other things that generate revenue, that, you know, you're not, you're not going paycheck to paycheck. And I know a lot of directors and a lot of filmmakers out there who, who were doing well, but then when you can't shoot, this is an unheard of situation. You're screwed. And it could be this way for another year, maybe two before we get back in back up and running the way with how is it by the way in Australia, like how's the shooting scenario there?

Mark Toia 1:11:16
It's quite messy here at the moment. I mean, there's not this word floating around. It's actually quite busy, but it's a lot of its, but you can shoot. Yeah, I've been shooting here we've just finished a nice big shoot. But the reality is, it's it's sort of it's very cost savings. Like this is my fourth recession technically have gone through since I was a kid, right. And I've seen this before, I've seen those $2 million, Kellogg's conflicts commercials get chopped down a million dollars in the next half 1,000,500 grand, and the next receipts I got, like 100 grand, you know, there's always someone out there, out there to chop it down. And the client goes, Well, I'm happy with that and only paid $100,000 they'll never pay any more for that commercial ever again. And I just did a big mistake with a client I you know, I did a huge job for them, you know, a year ago, like, in the millions and and this year they gave me like 100 grand to do one. And it literally almost looks as good as the big million dollar one. But we did it really cheap wise like a tiny crew and everything but it looks amazing. But I think I've just wrecked that client too because they've just gone all cheese or look at you just gave us for that that so I doubt they'll ever give me any more money ever again. Right? So the recession's literally destroy these, this type of industry you know, you've got to be clever in the figuring out how to how to try and make it back out of it from this point forward. And as well, because of the digital industry. There's so many people running around with an a seven SLR camera and a tripod now that you know competition so fears and everyone is happy to work cleanouts to try and push the career up. So it's a bit of a bit of a crazy industry. Right now. It's a very hard industry for the young people to really do well in it. Unless they really really work hard. I mean me making movies again, I'm not sure if that's the best way to go. I'll tell you in six to eight months time if it's if it's a worthwhile thing to go along and do but you know there's it's not hard to make a living in the film industry. You just got to work for it.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:36
And it's not it's harder it's harder now than it was

Mark Toia 1:13:40
The days of sitting back just getting the one job a week charging a week's wages for a day's work is now gone. I'd say if you see did

Alex Ferrari 1:13:50
Exactly well

Mark Toia 1:13:52
Film crew we're getting everyone gets paid way way too much anyway. Right with shows and dinners and everything brought to you on set I mean it's very privileged without without question not want to change I wanted to stay is probably going to change dramatically.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:09
Now um I think Mark that you have a very unique film a very unique IP that you should be and I know you will be exploiting to the nth degree of of trying to generate revenue with it and building out this kind of film directorial model by doing it yourself getting it out there into these marketplaces and generating that revenue. So I I am very interested to see how this all goes. If the launch is any indication, I think you're gonna do just fine.

Mark Toia 1:14:41
Yeah, fingers crossed. I think like, I like experiments like this, especially if they work but so far thing has gone plan. I did go over budget on the movie, I should say my wife will always if she was standing in the room. Yeah, you went over budget. But the reality was when we were shooting the film I was gonna do a bit like the movie The quiet place, you know, just see the robots, just, you know, they sort of come in in. But once I started shooting, I went Screw it. Let's have robots all through it. Yeah, the script changed all of a sudden onset. But you know, it was our money we could do that sort of stuff. That's a very,

Alex Ferrari 1:15:21
that's a very director thing. That's a very director thing to do. Like you just like, you know, I want to see more. Well, that's what that was. Why jaws? Is it an absolute masterpiece, because he didn't get all the Starkey won it because it didn't work. But you have the ability to have as much shark as you want, sir. Now, it didn't cost much more. And I'm going to ask you a few questions asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today

Mark Toia 1:15:55
Depends on what level you start in and but if you're trying to break in, into the into making content, whether it be movies, or ads, or anything, is it all comes down to your body of work that you can show and market to the world, if you don't have a decent show reel, we don't have a decent commercial show reel or a decent drama show which you can do yourself, which you can go out and shoot fake commercials, you can go out and shoot fake ads and, and make short films and all that sort of stuff you can do yourself all you need is a camera and a couple of lenses, and some buddies and, and a lot of knowledge in post production. So learn as many programs as you can to help those of you tools. You know, go and shoot amazing content, practice, practice, practice, and then tell the world and show the world how good you are. Now, if your reel is good, people will call me It's as simple as that. Like my advertising showreel is is very strong. I only I sort of make a like a montage thing up every five or six years. Every time I send that thing out that phone rings off the hook. So it's it's all about building that body of work. But making sure you market to the planet is look I get phone calls from Russia of any sort everywhere in the world, every corner of the world has called me to do a TV commercial, because I've made myself highly visible.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:23
So very important. Marketing is everything would go from movies to outside. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Mark Toia 1:17:34
Longest lesson i dunno I'm still learning. I'm loving family, love your family to death. My kids and my wife now instead of you know, this movie business for me at the moment is purely a hobby. But but but honestly my family everything to me now my sort of, you know, where I used to be very one sided. recreate career now I'm like, you know, now my kids are all at home now. And I don't want them to leave home and I want them to be at home

Alex Ferrari 1:18:11
Isn't that isn't that the thing, though? Isn't that the thing as you get older, like when you're a kid, like when you're in your 20s and your 30s you just like it's all about career. It's all about career and you want you're focusing so much and then as you get older, you get met and you now family becomes more important like I you know, I want to spend more I don't want to be on the road. I rather just you know, Can I shoot something locally? Okay. Oh, can I shoot something quickly? You know, so I can stay home with family?

Mark Toia 1:18:37
Home it's been great. I'm not sure she's bit of a shock because I'm usually awake, you know, seven 8, 10 months of the year, right? overseas filming so for me to be homeless matches like it took us a bit to get adjusted to each other. And then kids are bringing them randomly at some stupid air of the night. Hey, here you go. And you know dad's been a pain in the neck.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:03
That's awesome. All right, and three of your favorite films of all time.

Mark Toia 1:19:10
Holy Jeez, there's so many I mean, I I actually a big fan of Cloud Atlas. I love Cloud Atlas. Yeah, yes. And there's so many great movies that Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of my all time favorites the I think I was watching Interstellar the other night I still think that's quite the masterpiece Yeah, that you know those I do like big movies. I'm Ridley Scott fan. I'm a I do actually love Michael Bay movies but not real I'm not really into the story so much but I just other visual like what he achieves on screen. You know krustyland fan and I'm a Spielberg fan. So it's, you know, those four big directors and that and that. What's his name? The The, the owner of that guy is doing June and did Blade Runner as well, I think.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:13
Oh, yeah. Dennis Melville. Yeah I can I cannot I cannot say his last I just had his brother on the show just got released last week. And he's a director as well. he's a he's a sci fi director as well. He's his younger brother. Which is that that must be a hell of a family to be in.

Mark Toia 1:20:34
I think he's he's doing all the jobs I'd love to do.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:37
Are you in a lot of other directors in town, sir. So

Mark Toia 1:20:43
June fan in the world. And when I heard he was doing June, I'm like, Oh, no. Oh, well, at least it went to someone. Awesome. Right.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:50
Right. And it looked at trailer looks insane. That trailer. That trailer looks insane. And I did I love blade. A Blade Runner is Blade Runner was was brilliant. I'm a huge fan of the first one. I mean, you watch that and you just like Well, that's just a masterpiece.

Mark Toia 1:21:07
It was so there was so raw looking. It was the first of the raw movies was more Skype. I mean, yeah, but what get is, you know, both of those movies, technically flops. Right. Right. So they've gotten out following. And you know, the last one was even a bigger flop, you know, as $100 100 million dollar dump.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:29
Yeah, but it looks fantastic.

Mark Toia 1:21:32
Night film. Go figure.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:34
Exactly and where can people find you and find out more about monsters and men?

Mark Toia 1:21:43
Look, it's monstersofmen.movie. Okay. And that's it. And that has got a thingamajig gotcha prefix monstersofmen.movie? Yes, I think it is. It is.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:57
Yeah. And an Indiegogo campaign still going on right now. I think you you last night check. You were over 140% funded already. So within a few days

Mark Toia 1:22:09
It went probably better than we thought as well. But you know, it's, it's, it's been that's been great.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:18
No, I mean, yeah.

Mark Toia 1:22:20
Money is literally going to go straight to the marketing in the film. So I'm really thankful to all the supporters and there's a lot of people still buying it. So up buying the perks and everything. So I'm very, very thankful for all those people.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:33
Well, Mark, I want to not only thank you for being on the show, but thank you for doing this experiment, because it's going to put a lot of things to the test in regard to like, well, if someone actually made a movie, like monsters of man, and did what you're doing, you know, to do an experiment, like, this is such a rare occasion that that happens. So I thank you for just saying hell with it. I'm going to do it this way. And I know everyone's telling me not to do it. And, and I thank you for turning down, you know, a seven figure district multiple, seven figure distribution deals. And that's what the one thing I asked you, when we we talked a while ago was like, why did you turn down this and he goes, Oh, man, because that I mean, by the time I was gonna get paid, I was gonna be like, 105 years old, like all the stuff that they were doing and payment schedule was just so shady, you're like, screw it, I'm just, I'm just gonna do it myself.

Mark Toia 1:23:25
Like it wasn't, I wouldn't say it's shady. It's just the way they do things, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:23:29
Red, Potato, potato straight up.

Mark Toia 1:23:32
Those deals can vary. The delivery schedule is very difficult in them. And you got to jump a lot of hurdles. And I think a lot of it's delay and the delay purpose, really. So you know, that your movies actually out released out to the world and they still haven't paid it right. It's sort of like, you know, what they're doing is the recouping all your money at the marketplace, and then that is going to pay you what, what they owe you anyways, then they're not really putting any skin in the game at all. But that's the way distribution is and you just if you don't want to sell the movie yourself, you got to do it that way. But you know, the proof that what the whole thing that comes out of this is from a film perspective, my movie will probably make less money doing it my way. I'll make what, Ryan? Right. If I did it through that way, it'll probably make more money, but I'll make less.Does that make sense?

Alex Ferrari 1:24:28
Makes perfect sense. Makes perfect sense. Well, Mark, thanks for being

Mark Toia 1:24:34
It's our last Sorry, I was, you know, you've had a couple of, you know, distributors on site or there was I think it was in the any film any rights in the rights, you know, like, she had the right idea, that lady because she was like, you know, we'll charge this on our show. 5-10% 15 whatever she does, but she seemed very open and transparent. And that's what's gonna make her little business model takeoff, you know what I mean? And but she's literally just doing what we're doing anyway. It scale she's, she's charging you for the for that, you know and I think companies like that are the future it's the the transparency is a big big deal. Especially live portals. You know one good thing about doing Amazon and iTunes you get the portal you get to see everything. So you know that those sales, distribution companies aren't touching up all these aggregators because you can see what they see, you know, it's all about transparency moving forward for a lot of people love it.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:37
Mark, thanks again for being on the show. And I wish you nothing but success with monsters of man, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out, sir, thank you, again, my friend,

Mark Toia 1:25:47
It will file a win, you'll know it all I'll share with you another time.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:52
Again, I cannot thank Mark enough for not only being on the show, but on going on on this adventure on this film shoprunner adventure to see if his film can actually get a great ROI. And from what we're already seeing early on. It's It's looking good. I think his film is, you know, the entrepreneur method is very case by case. And I wanted to see if a film of his magnitude, with his budget with no major bankable stars in it is going to be able to do what we all think it can do. So I'm really curious and Mark is going to come back on the show in the next six to 12 months. And let us know how it's going and see what worked what didn't work. And you guys the tribe will be able to benefit from this exane insane experiment. Thank you again, Mark. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including watching this insane trailer of monsters of men, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/407 and it's not too late if you want to buy the film and get early access plus all this other cool stuff. Head over to his Indiegogo campaign which is still live and it is on the show notes. The link is on the show notes as well. And one last reminder guys tonight the film distribution blueprint course closes for a while until I open it up back at the regular price. If you want to get access head over to indiefilmhustle.com/let me in. Thank you guys for listening. As always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 404: How to Squeeze Money Out of Your Indie Film with Patrick Solomon

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today on the show we have filmmaker and Filmtrepreneur Patrick Solomon. Patrick is the mastermind behind the celebrated film Finding Joe.

Finding Joe is an exploration of famed Mythologist Joseph Campbell’s studies and their continuing impact on our culture. Through interviews with visionaries from a variety of fields interwoven with enactments of classic tales by a sweet and motley group of kids, the film navigates the stages of what Campbell dubbed The Hero’s Journey: the challenges, the fears, the dragons, the battles, and the return home as a changed person.

“WE MUST BE WILLING TO GET RID OF THE LIFE WE’VE PLANNED SO AS TO HAVE THE LIFE THAT IS WAITING FOR US” – JOSEPH CAMPBELL

Rooted in deeply personal accounts and timeless stories, Finding Joe shows how Campbell’s work is relevant and essential in today’s world and how it provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life-or as Campbell would simply state, how to “follow your bliss”.

I saw Finding Joe years ago and it just blew me away. This is why I was so excited to include the film in the IFHTV Streaming Service. Patrick and I sit down and discuss his film, his distribution journey, and how he used the Filmtrepreneur method to squeeze every drop of revenue out of the film.

Enjoy my conversation with Patrick Solomon.

Alex Ferrari 0:30
Well, guys, I am excited for today's episode, we have filmmaker and filmtrepreneur, Patrick Solomon, who is the director of the wildly celebrated film finding Joe. Now finding Joe is an exploration of Joseph Campbell's studies and the hero's journey. And I watched this film years ago and loved it. And I just saw it pop up here and there and constantly being you seen in Netflix and all these other streaming services and platforms. And I always wondered how Patrick, you know was doing with the film. And I come to find out that Patrick read Rise of the filmtrepreneur and was super stoked about what it had to say and how it could help his film continue to make money years after its release. So in this episode, Patrick and I get into it and we start talking about how the film came to be what he did right what he did wrong when he released it originally, what his distribution journey has been, and how the filmtrepreneur method is being used to squeeze every last drop of revenue out of this film and helping it find a new audience and being a value to that audience, which is always the key to getting any money and any revenue from a film providing massive amounts of value to your audience. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Patrick Solomon. I'd like to welcome the show Patrick Solomon, man. Hey, Patrick, how you doing, brother?

Patrick Solomon 4:29
What's happening? Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 4:31
Oh, thank you for coming on the show. Man. I am a big fan of your film finding Joe. And I saw it years ago when it first came out. And I've actually gone back to it a bunch of times because it's just, it's like a warm cup of like coffee or like, you know, something like a piece of apple pie. Just very comforting. It's a very comforting film. For sure. It's comfort food because it's very hopeful. It's a very hopeful film. And it's just very well executed and it was unlike anything I'd seen before that time, or honestly since talking about the work and life of Joseph Campbell, but like more of his theories and stuff, but we're gonna get into we're gonna get into finding job but first and foremost, how did you get into the film business?

Patrick Solomon 5:17
Let's see I got into film business at a really young age. I was just into it right right out of high school. I started shooting on on Super eight film just to date myself. And I started shooting stuff that I was into like skateboarding and snowboarding and, and right when snowboarding was first becoming snowboarding, right, you couldn't really go anywhere except for like three places, once again, dating myself. I said, Okay, let's make a snowboard film. And then some sponsors at the time came out and said, Okay, well, we'll find that. And I started shooting snowboard films. And that was it, man. I was like, I'm, I'm off to the races. This is what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life.

Alex Ferrari 5:59
Very cool. And you and you worked on the commercials.

Patrick Solomon 6:01
That's why right? So in the summertime, when we come back to LA, and I've worked as a production assistant in commercials, so my context grew in commercials. And so somebody was like, hey, you're doing these stillborn films? Would you be interested in shooting any commercials? And I said, Yeah, I'd do that. And so I started shooting commercials. And I was like, This is great. I'm gonna do this for the rest of my life. And so and so I had a you know, as off to a commercial career as commercial director.

Alex Ferrari 6:28
And that was a different time because you and I are similar vintages? It's so I remember when there was just money flowing into commercials and Oh, hey, you would have half a minute like rain, half a million here million plus their campaigns. It was it was insane. And I was in. I was in South Florida during that time. And so I was I was working with some of the big commercial houses down there. And I just saw it was just it was the 90s. Like,

Patrick Solomon 7:00
It was I wasn't I got into it it like late 90s. Like, 96-97 I got my start there. And then. And then yeah, I just I worked all the way through to when I when I started making finding job, which was 2010, 2009?

Alex Ferrari 7:17
Yeah, that's Yeah. And that's it commercial work. If anyone listening right now, it's not nearly as easy to get into the commercial world. And it used to be,

Patrick Solomon 7:27
It's i i would i would back that up. It isn't it isn't right. Because if you're young, and you're just starting out and you can afford to, you know, if you're if you're in your 20s especially, you know, you don't have a relationship, you don't have a kid you don't have a lot of commitments like a mortgage, you can just go out and shoot whatever you want. It might be to get paid is a lot harder, but to get a client and just shoot some cool stuff for free and build a real job easier.

Alex Ferrari 7:53
Oh, yeah. free free services that are always easy to sell. That's not in any decade. It's a very simple, easy process, generally speaking. But yeah, I'm just like to get back up to like the, the David Fincher style budgets in the Michael based budgets back in the 80s and 90s. never coming back. Oh, my God, those days, man. I just remember those are coming back the propaganda days. Remember the propaganda day? Yeah, yeah, I worked for them that you worked for. Yeah. I mean, I was at my one of my best friends worked in the vault at propaganda. So he would send me he would send me VHS is a Fincher Bay Gondry, Jones Fuqua, he sent me their reels. And before the internet really saw would see all their demos and short films and aos frickin awesome, dude, it was a different world, different worlds. So then you got out of the commercial world for a minute and got into the highly, highly profitable documentary space.

Patrick Solomon 8:56
Nobody told me that at the time, though. So I was thinking, in my mind, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna make this film. And I was kind of, I was really, commercially I was like, okay, what's next? I'm, I know, I've kind of done this and, and I was getting a little soured on doing commercials. So I thought, Okay, I'm gonna do this film. And that'll launch me into this whole career doing documentaries and all, I didn't really think about the money to just add to your to your book filter burner. I really wasn't thinking that way at all. You know, I still consider myself an artist. And all I got to do is make something good. And the money will follow. Sure it really and I and I didn't even think that that was that was even an actual thought there was probably like a feeling I had. And so. So on that end of it, obviously, it didn't work out. Because, as you know, and as you write about, you really have to be intentional about your distribution and your marketing and how you're going to make money on this thing.

Alex Ferrari 9:50
Yeah, but the good thing about finding juggle First of all, we're talking about like everybody knows what it is. tell everybody what finding Joe is and how it came to be.

Patrick Solomon 9:58
Right? So finding Joe is a My dad, it was released in 2012. And it's a film about Joseph Campbell's work, right. And so if you don't know, Joseph, Joseph Campbell is that really quick, he was a mythologist. And he, he discovered this common thread in all stories of the world, hollywood uses. Joseph Campbell's work quite a bit. And he called it hero's journey, right? A hero in every single story goes on almost the exact same journey when you break it down. And so Joseph Campbell coined the phrase, the hero's journey, and he also coined the phrase follow your bliss. And what was different about him was he made this correlation? And he said, Well, the reason why every hero in every story in every time period is taking the same journey is because humans are taking the same journey. So he correlated, the story that you see on the screen to the story of your life. And so the film is about that part of it. The film is really about the story of your life, more so than Joseph Campbell.

Alex Ferrari 11:00
Yeah. And, and what I loved about it is you had a lot of guests come in, and in the people you were interviewing, so like celebrities, and, and, you know, just authors and other people who really just hadn't had such a love for Joseph's work. And anyone who's ever seen Star Wars, because it was just me, it was a May the fourth be with you, yesterday, if anyone who who has ever seen Star Wars, it was basically the blueprint of the hero's journey, the original Star Wars.

Patrick Solomon 11:30
Exactly. And so and so that was really what made Campbell's work famous was that George Lucas was, was a disciple of Campbell's right. And so he went so far as to flood flute Campbell, to his estate in Marin County. And they shot this series of interviews with Bill Moyers. And that made made him quite famous at that time.

Alex Ferrari 11:51
He has the power of myth, which is I think, available on Netflix. Now, Netflix

Patrick Solomon 11:55
It's available on Netflix available on YouTube, if you haven't seen Campbell's work and you're aspiring filmmaker, or you're a filmmaker, go watch it.

Alex Ferrari 12:02
So you so you start putting this movie together. And it I mean, as far as the film entrepreneur style, or mentality, I know you weren't thinking about it. But let's let's kind of let's do a post mortem on finding Joe. embarrass me now. No, I have not actually it actually, it has a lot of key elements that make sense. So you have a niche audience. It's broad, but it's still a niche audience was people who are interested in Joseph Campbell. That's why I saw it. I was like, I'm a filmmaker. I know who Joseph Campbell is. And this is a documentary that's going to kind of really, spoon feed me, you know, without having to read 1000s of volumes of or watch or watch mythos one and two, which is his lecture series, which I watched years ago. And it's, it's pretty academic stuff, but if you're not, it can turn you off. Exactly. So I was really excited about it. And I would feel that there would be a large audience for this film, right? Because Because of that, and the celebrities you had involved in it, as well. And so there was there were niche audiences and there were, you know, there's little pockets of people that you can bring in. So how did it actually play out for you?

Patrick Solomon 13:12
Okay, so yeah, just just to preface this, too, so I'm about to embarrass myself greatly with my ignorance at the time, right? And every and we all we all, as you were saying those things. I'm feeling like this little pinch, like you're stabbing me like, Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 13:29
I actually, from looking at it from the outside. When I saw this, I was like, this is a really great package. Like it's, it makes sense to me. And it's, I'm assuming it wasn't super expensive to make because it didn't look like it was super expensive to make.

Patrick Solomon 13:44
The grand scheme of thing it was all in like distribution marketing, all in the entire budget was half a million.

Alex Ferrari 13:52
Right, which, which in the grand scheme of independent films is pretty it's an affordable price, but also right, which is also back in 2010. Allah probably even less to make now. Oh, yeah, you could probably make that movie much more affordably now. But, um, but it's still it seems. It seems smart. Even at that even at that price point. There's enough. There's enough people out there who know who Joseph Campbell is. who are fans of Star Wars. Yeah, you know, that would want to watch this film. So how did it play out?

Patrick Solomon 14:23
Okay, so so let's get into the postmortem and me embarrassing myself. Okay, so so first of all filmmaking, mistake 101 self distribution, right. I said to myself, This film is gonna have a theatrical release because I'm a filmmaker and and that's what films do. And that's how you that's just the way it is. I'm gonna have a theatrical release because I'm,

Alex Ferrari 14:46
I'm a real filmmaker. I'm a real filmmaker. Baker is still if Spielberg gets a theatrical

Patrick Solomon 14:52
I really I really like lay down the law there. I got Gods This is what I'm doing. Mistake number one. And the reason why is because A theatrical release cost so much money to do correctly, right? So you need, you'd need millions of dollars to do that correctly, right? We tried to get butts in the seats, as they say, cost a lot of money. So if you're doing at a small scale, like I was doing it, you're not getting the ROI, you just are not going to make, you're not, you're not going to get a bunch of people in the seats with with the money that you're going to have to spend. And so that was Mistake number one. So I, we initially started off with just some of these teaser screenings. So I would go to New Mexico, we would just advertise that we tried to get a big theater. And we said to ourselves, yeah, we got a niche here, let's let's capitalize on our niche. We get like a 700 seat theater and sell it out in one night. Right? It was awesome. But then we went to the we only did that six or seven times. And they were so successful and wonderful. They made me feel so good about myself. And then we got to the theatrical release the actual theatrical release. And that just suck man. We we released it in how do we do this? We rolled it out in New York, and then kind of rolled it across the country a little bit. And, and it was horrible, man, it was just it was you know, there was hardly anyone in the theaters. I think overall, we had good numbers. But I would go out to the to the beginning of each city, right each city so like on a Friday, and sit down and do a q&a. And it was like sometimes it was like three people in the audience is brutal.

Alex Ferrari 16:28
But But also, to be fair to you, I'm gonna defend you a little bit for yourself is that you were doing a theatrical release in a traditional standpoint, not in an in a kind of guerrilla standpoint, because now,

Patrick Solomon 16:40
It wasn't it wasn't right. So we knew we had this niche audience. We just did a really bad job marketing and understanding who our niche was knowing where to spend the money. You're right. We didn't run a real well, we weren't doing TV ads, right. I mean, we were doing, you know, we're doing a lot of Internet Marketing. But, you know, we neither me or my team had the experience to know where to put the dollars.

Alex Ferrari 17:03
Right. And so Facebook was around, but it wasn't the powerhouse that it was today.

Patrick Solomon 17:08
It wasn't the powerhouse today. And we didn't explain it to the to the degree we should have.

Alex Ferrari 17:13
Exactly. And there wasn't the the kind of pinpoint marketing that's available for the past five or six years was not available, then. You know, it's just in its infancy yet. So you really, you really couldn't go into New York City and just target within a five block radius of the theater. Like that. That's not something that was available back then. And then so you were for walling it I'm assuming you were paying.

Patrick Solomon 17:35
We were were we for walling it we were for walling it yes we were we were again it's been so long, I'm like, I don't know. Yeah, so we we exactly we were for wiling it meaning we rented, we paid for this for the screen time, and you know, what we just it just was looking back on it, it was like mistake after mistake and rookie ones to like, you know, don't do a theatrical release, you're not gonna make any money doing that?

Alex Ferrari 18:01
Well, I mean, then again, theatrical there is well now in today's world, there's no theatrical right now as we as we speak, because of the quarantine. But generally speaking there, there can be very successful theatrical runs, depending on how you do it. And again, to be fair to you, it was a different time, and there wasn't as much information on it. There just wasn't as much information. there hadn't been a lot of people who have done that successfully yet. Now, I mean, on my show alone, I've had a handful of people who've had extremely good, you know, documentaries who have done very well and the N narratives have done very well, theatrically, but they do profit sharing. They don't for a wall. They they use internet marketing exclusively. There are ways to make that work. But you write the whole thing again, I would be Yeah, so Alright, so now you did this theatrical run. You've you're not happy with this. So now where do you go from there?

Patrick Solomon 18:58
Right. And so now I stroke now. So now I'm behind the now on behind the curve, right? So there's a lot of catching up to do like, Christmas is coming. Somebody says, Hey, man, you should have a DVD and you know, we should get this online. And because then you could still buy DVDs. It was just shifting over at that point, but and so it was a scramble. Oh, all right. Let's get that done. So so we got that done, but we didn't really get the marketing place for it. So it just was okay. And then oh, there's these new platforms, you check out Gaia TV, all these other platforms, you should. Food matters was just coming out. So. So there was a lot of these platforms, but none of them were intentional. Like we didn't sit down and say okay, here's our roadmap. We were reacting to stuff coming up. Right? It was more like something would pop up and we go Oh, that's cool. Yeah, cheese, our tail a little bit in that process.

Alex Ferrari 19:46
Shiny lights syndrome Shiny light syndrome.

Patrick Solomon 19:48
Exactly. So So now going forward, right and I can't wait to finish the film that I'm on now because I'm not going to make one single mistake. But I'm gonna Learn from all those mistakes I made and really, you know, get ahead of the game on the distribution marketing release. What it what exactly is it that we are selling to the public?

Alex Ferrari 20:11
So okay, so Alright, so what happened with the Did you? Did you sell out? Did you do DVDs? How did you do it all yourself? By the way? Did you ever? Did you ever get a conversation with the distributor? No one approached you about this?

Patrick Solomon 20:23
I did. I had, I had a few different conversation with a distributor, but I didn't like their deals. shocker. Like I just said no to everybody. And then of course, I jumped in bed with distributor. And you know, we know how that ended.

Alex Ferrari 20:34
Oh, gee. So you were you were caught up in the distributor, but debacle as well. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But that was later but you must have been somebody

Patrick Solomon 20:43
That was way later. Yeah. So. So it took, like I said, I think it took about two years to get into the black. Right. And looking back on it, it should have just taken way less time. Right? Like, like, had I not done that theatrical release, that would have taken us less than a year, right? Just because because because the money we spent. But we did the DVDs, right? I felt like the DVDs had a good sale, I made it, I made a distribution deal with a DVD distributor. And with a couple markets that were exclusive to him, and then I and then I made some deals with people around the world, which I also discovered was a great, a great source of income was to make deals with different markets worldwide.

Alex Ferrari 21:23
You did that directly without a sales rep. Without a sales rep. Yeah. How did you how did you get access? Or do they find you?

Patrick Solomon 21:30
A little bit of both? Some people found me, but then I would do research? What God there was a few other films that were out at the time. And I just looked at their distribution list online. Like, who distributes What the Bleep in Germany or whatever, right? And then I just said to them, Hey, I got to film a bow.

Alex Ferrari 21:49
Okay, so then that and then so you start the you making any money with the DVDs.

Patrick Solomon 21:54
Um, we made an okay amount of money. I can't remember what the numbers were. But I remember going, Okay, this isn't too bad. Like, I wasn't overwhelmed, but I wasn't bummed about that either. Like, I wasn't bummed about the income on the DVDs the way I was on the theatrical.

Alex Ferrari 22:09
So when you went into the streaming deals, what was that? Was it a positive or a negative situation?

Patrick Solomon 22:16
It was positive. Like I liked the deals that we made. We weren't making a ton of money streaming like hardly at all. But I just liked the idea that the film was out there streaming that our best deal was with distributor, we were making pretty decent money with those guys for a while. And it was just Apple TV. That's it. No one else.

Alex Ferrari 22:35
It was in because people were renting.

Patrick Solomon 22:37
Yeah. Because we're renting it and downloading it there. Exactly. And and it was such a big platform that people get to it easy.

Alex Ferrari 22:43
And it's also different. What like What year is that? We're talking about? 2013

Patrick Solomon 22:47
Exactly. 2013 2014 2015. So VOD was a thing.

Alex Ferrari 22:51
TiVo, yeah. T VOD was still a thing back then people are still renting a lot. And still buying movies on on Apple and stuff like that. Now, now would be a very different, a different world. But overall, so at the end of this dis journey with this film, and you're still generating revenue with it, you own it still, I'm assuming. Right? Yeah. Right. So you're still generating revenue with it. It's still you know, overall, it's been a very positive experience. Overall, man,

Patrick Solomon 23:17
it has been such a positive and amazing experience, to even like, just the production of the film, like making the film was such an amazing, like, I would call it one of the high points of my life, like just just producing that film and the people that I met, and the experiences that I had making it were just priceless.

Alex Ferrari 23:34
Yeah, I mean, I love what you did with the children as reenactments. I thought that was such a clever way to shoot those stories. Like you're trying to tell stories, like the hero's journey, but you're doing it through children just up in it, like they're playing imaginary heroes or something like that, I think worked out. I'm

Patrick Solomon 23:53
glad that worked out. I was like, This is crazy. No one's gonna like this. And then we got a couple tests back and I was like, This is awesome. This is gonna be the way we're gonna do the whole movie.

Alex Ferrari 24:01
Yeah, it was it was great. It was just a very well produced piece. You could tell that whoever, you know, the director was, who knew what they were doing. It was it was very polished. But that's and that's one of the reasons why I reached out to you for for indie film, hustle TV because I wanted it I wanted it so badly. Because I was like, Oh, please, I'd love

Patrick Solomon 24:18
to have it on this platform is when I got your email. I was like, Oh my God, this guy knows who I am. I love it.

Alex Ferrari 24:24
I appreciate that, man. I appreciate that. So um, so let's let's talk a little bit about Joseph's work. Because I know him Joseph, Joe. Joe, talk a little bit about what they can break down the hero's journey for people who might not know what the hero's journey is in a very basic way. Sure. So

Patrick Solomon 24:44
the so the hero's journey breaks down like this, right? So a hero. There's there's basically three parts right separation, initiation and returning. And so you can think about it like this circle, right? So heroes starts off in their village or their place of comfort and Somehow they are called on some on an adventure. Sometimes you get kicked out of the village, sometimes you follow a butterfly into the forest. You know sometimes your village gets attacked by neighboring army and your burns down and you got to go. Or you know, and you know, Star Wars The classic example right sometimes you're an uncle or murdered by the stormtroopers, and you gotta go. So now the hero goes on an adventure where you learn things gain things, and you acquire the treasure right? That's the The goal of the journey is to get the gold or destroy the Deathstar. But you get some thing, and then that's not the end of it, you return with that thing, knowledge scepter to the village where you started, right? So separation, separation, initiation return.

Alex Ferrari 25:52
And that's basically the hero's journey in a nutshell. So if you break it down, if you just watch Star Wars, it is literally as perfect of a blueprint, the original Star Wars to the hero's journey as anything I've ever seen. Right? And you and you start and you start analyzing the hero's journey. And if you know the hero's journey is in almost every story, it's not an every story, but it is me if you start especially every Hollywood store every every major Hollywood blockbuster, even independent films. Yeah, all of them have a version of this and find a film that doesn't. Yeah, the only ones I've ever found is kind of like, like, you know, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, like, you know, Sherlock Holmes stories, detective stories, those those don't have that as much because it's a different kind of storytelling. But generally, everything else has the hero's journey in it. And it's in for people listening. If you you know, a lot of times I know, there's these moments in your life where, where things happen, like, you lose your job, you break up with your girlfriend, you're stuck in a house from quarantine, there are events that happen that are catalysts for you to start a new adventure and their opportunities. I always look like I've been fired. twice, I had two full time jobs, only two full time jobs ever had in my career. And I was fired from both very proud of my firings. And and both of them started me off on completely new paths. And and we break up with someone start you in a new journey, and you have to learn things. And that's what our life is. You're right, like that's exactly what Joseph was saying is that you start as a child and you go off on journeys, and you could let sometimes it's literally like, literally you get on a boat somewhere and go on a journey and then come back. But other times it's a little bit more metaphorical. But you do go off and learn things. I mean, I'm sure you learned a lot on that film.

Patrick Solomon 27:48
I did. I mean, I feel like I feel like so just in the making of the film itself was a classic hero's journey. You know, I went out in this adventure to make a film about the hero's journey, right? And then I made this film about the hero's journey, and I returned to the village that is the world and I shared that journey.

Alex Ferrari 28:06
Yeah, but basically and and is there any like what is your the the books that really draw you from from Joseph work, I'm assuming hero's has 1000 faces is,

Patrick Solomon 28:19
especially if you're if you're checking this out, then then the hero with 1000 faces is like really, really the classic work and that's the one that that Lucas really gravitated towards. However, it's kind of dense material. Right? I would start with the power of myth, which is the just was the Moyers series. It's a book right? The power of myth is they turn that into a book. Get that one first because it really breaks down in very easy to understand ways all these different ideas.

Alex Ferrari 28:47
And then yeah, they're there cuz I was such a Joseph Campbell fan. I actually went out and got mythos on VHS. mythos. And this those two, yeah. And man, dense,

Patrick Solomon 29:00
dense. I mean, and that's that's the thing is you can really get sucked into them if you're in the right mindset, or if you're just you know, if you're Joseph Campbell fan, but if you're not, man, I really recommend power of myth four, there's another one called reflections on the arts of living. That's easy. That's an easy way in and really in from video, you'll get a lot of great information out of that.

Alex Ferrari 29:22
What was it about the Joseph's work that drew you to him? Like what made you want to make this documentary?

Patrick Solomon 29:27
life? Right? So Oh, also, when I was a kid, when I was just starting my, my filmmaking career is when those Moyers interviews came out. And man, I was just hooked on those things. And I started reading everything that he ever wrote. And I really geeked out on Campbell for for years and years. And then when I would have a crisis in my life, I would go back to Campbell's work, right, which is essentially the myths of the world and you really is information about humans and you know, why we do the things we do and how to it provides a great map. When you look at A map, you can say, oh, man, I'm having this crisis here. But further down the road, I can see it's gonna be better. So it provides a good roadmap of life.

Alex Ferrari 30:09
And is there any of Joseph's philosophy that can help you on a daily basis? That's just a human being?

Patrick Solomon 30:17
I would say no, here's the classic Joseph Campbell line, which is follow your bliss, right? follow your bliss, and doors will open where there were only walls, right? That's the line. And so the, to me, the idea of trying to follow your bliss on a daily basis, is it's really a practice. And it's just, it's just been magical for myself. And I know for many people to wake up in the morning and go, what am I here to do? How can I do that serve people while doing that? If you can do that you've won Really?

Alex Ferrari 30:49
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. What is when you just said cert be of service? Is that something that's very important to you and your work is of being of service to your audience?

Patrick Solomon 31:07
I think so. And I think that the way I look at the hero's journey different now is that going back to Star Wars, for example. You know, everyone who is on a journey is their own hero, right? You're on you're on your own journey. You're a hero, I'm on my journey. I'm ahead of you. We bump into people, right? They're on their own journeys. But we can also be the yodas to people that are on their journey. Right. And that actually is, to me feels a lot better now. Like I love helping young filmmakers out I love I just love helping people in other ways, and sort of be of service and be a guide and be the the Yoda or the Merlin to somebody just coming up. That to me just feels better. It has a I love doing that.

Alex Ferrari 31:52
It's addictive, isn't it? Yes. Yeah. I started this. I started my journey five years ago, almost five years ago with indie film, hustle, and I can't turn back now this is just like

Patrick Solomon 32:04
you and Ryan, you're providing that service for many people, myself included, right? You're offering this guidance to people who really need it. And it's got to be amazing.

Alex Ferrari 32:13
It's it's a really great feeling to do it. And that's why I always tell people you know, when you are of service, if you want to follow if you want your dream to come to help somebody else follow theirs. Yes, I help somebody else achieve. There's my favorite quote of Campbell's is the the treasure that you seek is in the cave they are afraid to walk into. Yeah. Which is, which is a great. So true, though. It says so, so true. Now, what is the biggest lesson you learned? making that film? Like what's the if you had the one takeaway?

Patrick Solomon 32:46
God, there's so there's so many takeaways? I think from from a, from a filmmakers point of view, just there. So I there's some creative things that I learned about about how to get through creatively, right, because there's a lot of creative challenges in that film. And entry. Creativity isn't always sexy, right? Creativity doesn't always happen in these moments where you get this lightning bolt, right? A lot of times creativity comes from just getting dirty, sweaty, and, and suffering for weeks.

Alex Ferrari 33:18
Very true. Very, very true. Now, what is the what's the next movie you're working on? And how is it going to be different? Then, as far as how you're going to make money within sell it to get it to the audience?

Patrick Solomon 33:29
That's a that's a good point. So I'm making this film. And the title of the film right now is called what is money? Right? And the film is, is about the subject of money. I know it's a broad subject, but it's when I started, I didn't really have a central theme or a question that I was asking money just intrigued me. People at the q&a said finding Joe would stand up and say, Hey, man, I'd like to just quit my job and follow my bliss. But I need money. And that kind of hit me like, wait a minute, you do need money. What is money? That's weird. So the idea of money just stuck with me and I and I knew that I just I needed to make a film about it. So it's turning into kind of a not a definition of money. But But why? why what money is right? Why we stuck with it. And how we can understand money in a way that makes you go Oh, right. I get it. I understand money a lot better now. And maybe there's not so much stress and anxiety about it.

Alex Ferrari 34:24
Yeah, I've been studying the topic of money now for probably for a couple years now. I've read probably 40 50 60 books.

Patrick Solomon 34:32
We read the same books. Oh, yeah. I mean, I just read I'm constantly reading stuff about every every aspect of money hit me with your favorite bits because it's interesting with different people take about a takeaways about money. But man, it's a fascinating topic, very triggering, and I'm stoked to come out with it. And then and then on the back end of this. I'm doing things that I never did with the first film, which is immediately day one I started thinking about what's my distribution What's my marketing strategy? Who's my audience? So I just have pages and pages and pages about who my potential audience is about marketing? What the marketing strategy is going to be, what platforms are we going to run on just all these things that that you should think about? You should think about them just as equally as the as your production of the film.

Alex Ferrari 35:20
Oh, I think if not more so in many ways. Exactly. if not more, so. Yeah. Because there's so many filmmakers who just like, like you were saying, I'm the artist at the one post is done. I'm done. When post is done. I'm done.

Patrick Solomon 35:32
I don't I feel I thought that way for so long, man. It's like that's the killer is going to the kiss of death right there.

Alex Ferrari 35:37
Let me know what where's the red carpet? I just let me know where the red carpet I'll pick up the awards. Like I don't understand. Can I get my picture taken with? Yeah, let's do this. Now just and you can send the cheque to this address. And that's basically what you're doing that again. Yeah, it is such an it's such a myth that I've been trying to bust now for five years, basically, since I started doing this. And so as far as the what you're asking earlier about what like my favorite tidbits on money is the biggest one I the biggest one I took away and hopefully this could help some people out. Obviously, Robert Kiyosaki, and and yeah, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which the four quadrants of Rich Dad, Poor Dad are super was very impactful to me. And I'd read it years ago, but I guess at this age, I started listening to it a little bit differently, which is the employee, the self employed, the business owner and the investor. And the concept that when you're an employee, you're basically a serf, you're a slave to that job. And the second that job shuts down, you're done. And that were in that could be a high paying job. It could be a lawyer, it could be a doctor, it could be, you know, a big movie star, depending on you know, if you're making 234 million dollars a year, that sounds like a lot of money, but if you cost you four or $5 million a year to live your lifestyle, right, you're in the same boat as the guy making $20,000 make trying to make ends meet, obviously, at a different level, but you're still stuck there. So when that money stops, you stop. And, and the concept of passive income, about creating assets that generate revenue, that has been the biggest lesson. And when you have an online business like I do, that kind of is built into the business model is creating, creating passive income. Right? And it's never, it's, I can't tell you, I'm sure you know, this, when when you wake up in the morning, and there's just magic money that showed up, right from something that got sold somewhere. And that happens with stock footage, people and that happens with residuals for actors, and it's like mailbox money. But that passive income is addictive as well. And it gives you so much freedom and so much power.

Patrick Solomon 37:53
And that's really what it's about is that, um, the reason you're trying to create this stuff, real passive income and did multiple streams of revenue is is not just to get rich, right? It's a lifestyle you're trying to lead, right? The idea is that you have now you can live the short time you have on this planet, doing the things you want to do, instead of being a slave for, you know, the time that you have here and then retiring at 60. And then you only have a couple years left.

Alex Ferrari 38:19
Yeah, and I've been I've been basically self employed most of my professional career, like I said, I only had two full time jobs. And all the other time I was always self employed, but still employed. So there was a little bit more, a little bit more control, but not but I was still it was still dollars for hours,

Patrick Solomon 38:36
Dollars for hours, right? Like make it make a day work a day make $1

Alex Ferrari 38:40
Yeah, and in the people who are lack of a better term rich, it's they don't do that they understand how to leverage other people's money, they understand me when I mean other people's money, meaning banks, and you know, and other things like that, and they have money work for them, and they have assets that are generating revenue for them all the time. So they build Money Machines like that every revenue stream is a money machine. So that's kind of like what I kind of try to explain that in futurpreneur Rise of the entrepreneur where you're creating assets for your film, and those assets are generating revenue for you, even when you're not physically working, physically selling. It's constantly doing that. And the more of those you can have, the better you know, and so

Patrick Solomon 39:25
Exactly one of those you can have the better. That's exactly that's, that's the hope you get a few of those going. And pretty soon you can choose to do what you want in life.

Alex Ferrari 39:33
Right. And that's why people who work in real estate are so successful because they are able to leverage other people's money to purchase to purchase a house or an apartment building that's cashflow positive, then they're their their people, the people who are renting are paying for their asset. And maybe with appreciation, they can actually get another loan, pay back the bank and then all of a sudden that asset they own 100% and it's just generating revenue for them. So Basically a free cash machine,

Patrick Solomon 40:02
Right! Where films can be the same way to

Alex Ferrari 40:04
Correct! absolutely,!

Patrick Solomon 40:05
If you create a film, right? Or you you're not, you know, you have multiple films out there creating multiple streams of revenue. And then on the back of the film, like for this film, for instance, because of the subject matter, it really lends itself well to multiple products, right? So we can do a course based on this film, we can do the book based on this film, we can sell the all the raw interviews, you know, we can there's, there's a lot of different ways to slice this thing. And you know, for the first time ever, I'm like, Oh, my God, we can actually make a living, making a film,

Alex Ferrari 40:38
Stop it, stop the insanity. Are you kidding?

Patrick Solomon 40:40
You can do that, right, you can really make an actual living and pay your mortgage and everything.

Alex Ferrari 40:45
But the thing is that and for people listening, you have to understand that you can't think the way you were trained to think that old model of I've done a post, or I'll give it a movie to somebody else for that one revenue stream, which is a distributor. That's it. If you think that way. This doesn't work. It's it's not impossible, because obviously, some people do it. But in today's world, it's getting so much more difficult. There's so much more competition. You know, I'm much more about creating those multiple revenue streams that can kind of always constantly build making like and there's, and there's, there's guys, like I talked about in the book who've built empires, like food matters. You know, what's it called? Fat Sick and Nearly Dead? Those guys, I mean, they've literally built multimillion dollar empires off of, you know,

Patrick Solomon 41:34
Exactly. You're right. It's definitely doable. But but it really takes, you got to think that way, right? You have to change your thinking from, from Exactly. I'm an artist. As soon as I'm done with this product, I'm either moving on to the next one, or, or the money's just gonna come in magically, because I'm going to make such a great piece that people are just going to give me money.

Alex Ferrari 41:57
Now, I want to I want to I want to do a little experiment with you. Let's let's go back and do let's go back to finding Joe for a minute. So let's say we're making finding Joe today. Oh, man. Okay, so let's say today, no one's ever made finding Joe, no one's ever made a documentary about so this doesn't exist yet. So it's not in the Zeitgeist at all. And you say, I'm going to make a documentary about Joseph Campbell's work, and you shoot it same way with the kids and, and the interviews and everything. How would you position that film? Today?

Patrick Solomon 42:26
This so great, so So number one, I would I would know, I would let the audience know and start building my email list from day one. I wouldn't say day one of production, I would have a website that said, I'm world listen world. I'm making this film by Joseph Campbell. Here's like some here's like a little teaser, please give me your email address, I would start targeting that audience. Facebook, same thing, I would start a Facebook group. target that audience, I want every camel but there are Joseph Campbell fans out there. Oh, this a who don't know what finding Joe is they just don't know. And so I would not, I would not let that happen. I would target this small audience. Number two, the biggest other biggest mistake, I did not leverage the talent in that film. I like Deepak was ready to go, he was like, Hey, man, you want me to hit my millions of millions of you didn't do that. embarrass myself. So I didn't leverage the people that were in the film, right. And so this time, like, I would leverage the hell out and I'll be bugging the hell out of them. They're like, on this date, I want you guys to send this tweet out this Instagram post out, like really leverage that and that's all free. Like you don't have to pay any money for that. That's, that's all free except for building a website, right. And I would really get into the analytics of the whole thing and start doing a B testing on different ads about you know that different trailers right and start cutting different tailors and start testing which one's working more which one's getting more views, you know how and try to really get scientific about how to bring that audience in. Because you know, with it with a very small budget, you can really target an audience develop some ads and just your ads now go out to just the people who may buy this has never happened before in history. So you can really make each dollar count when it comes to selling a film or product online.

Alex Ferrari 44:17
Alright, so So now you're leveraging you're leveraging your ridiculous cast because it was amazing cast of people that you had an interview It was really amazing cast and very high profile people and multiple, like not just spiritual people. You had athletes. Yeah, Tony Hawk and and a bunch of other guys in there. So you could have easily leverage that you did. He did? I didn't know that. You did. And so now I'm gonna poke you because I asked him. Did you shoot? You should have me Come on. Come on, like if you were that you already know that. You read my mind. I'm an artist. I don't I don't do that. Those things. Hey, look, we've all been there. Trust me. I've been there. I was there too long. But Alright. So now you have you have you have the leverage of your Have your interviews? How would you package this differently? What ancillary product lines would you create? For?

Patrick Solomon 45:07
I would. And the other thing is that okay, so for so for finding Joe, there would definitely be some kind of some printed material like a workbook or a book or something that goes along with that film that you can follow along. And it's a life lesson, man, there's like, what is the hero? What is the journey of your life? Like, how can you map out your own life? How would attach that to the film, I still really was still really like to do that. And then there's there's other ancillary products that people have already created. Right? Some some people in the film already have Hero's Journey workshops, which I would attach to that film for sure. I would, I would release all the interviews, just raw interviews, like as a package the PDFs of those interviews, like I would bundle all that up, and then you could buy that for 999 or whatever.

Alex Ferrari 45:49
And then would you create possibly an online course, as well?

Patrick Solomon 45:54
I would, I would create an online course if I were doing it again. Yeah, right. Now, I would create an online course. I think. I think the ship has sailed on that one.

Alex Ferrari 46:00
Yeah, no, of course, of course. So you create an online course for that. Now, would you also what other answer, would there be any possibilities for t shirts for hat? Because people this is that's a subject matter that people would buy, like, follow your bliss? I think you could get away with that. Like, you could just get it Yeah,

Patrick Solomon 46:17
Exactly. You get the I actually didn't think about that at the time, like all these great logos and slogans and even the Joseph Campbell foundation who just gave me carte blanche on all his stuff. Yeah, didn't didn't really think about that until much later. But yes, I would create some hats and I don't know if that'd be a big moneymaker. But just getting that out there in the world and and even though those things might not make a lot of money, it's just a little bit here a little bit there. And, and getting the name the word out there is really more important than the money you'll make on those little things.

Alex Ferrari 46:48
Could you create an ecosystem? Could you build a business around this kind of like what food matters did right? Food matters as a very big

Patrick Solomon 46:57
Around around finding job but this next film around? Oh, yeah, all day, it's like a no brainer. Not a no brainer. But it's like it is it really lends itself well, to an ongoing businesses a lot of different things that are already coming up out of it, a lot of interviewees that, that I just didn't have time to do that. We'd like to be in the film, we could just keep, we could just keep going on this one for a long time.

Alex Ferrari 47:18
Great. So so those are the lessons, these lessons that you've learned, I've never done that before, like going back to an original film like So look, if we would take it today, what would you do differently? That's actually really good. Because I think the answer is everything so and so you would have probably been able to make it for a lot less, you would not have spent if you wouldn't have spent all the money on the theatrical How much did it movie actually cost you?

Patrick Solomon 47:39
The production budget was 250, a little more than 250 to produce, edit and finish the film.

Alex Ferrari 47:45
So so for quarterman they said today, you could probably make that for less, you can make that for less. So you would be lower lower to get it wouldn't take you that long to get into the black. And, man, I think it would have been in today's world, you would have done very well. I think I think I think it would have done very, very, very well. Yeah, I totally agree. Yeah. I mean, listen, listen, if you read my book, you know, I had a whole chapter on how I spent 50 grand on on that short film and released it on an app because I was so cool. You know, and I made $700 on that release. So we've been we've all been there. Do we all done that? But that's been a very, it's very interesting, a very, very interesting and how, how you would do it differently? Well, I'm glad that the book has helped you. In any way, it's helped you at all the film intrapreneur book, because it sounds like you really are taking a lot of those lessons that I put in the book and are applying it now to you.

Patrick Solomon 48:43
Really, really 100% there. I feel like that was a and that book, actually, I'd been having those thoughts already. Because the people I've been interviewing around the subject of money have all been saying very similar things. But when I pick your book up, it was specific to film. And it really solidified my belief that oh my god, I just need to change my thinking on this. Like, I gotta I gotta view myself differently. And, and I did and it was amazing.

Alex Ferrari 49:11
It is a it is a mindset shift. It really is a mind shift mindset. And I can't tell you how important and everyone listening, I want you to be very Park up here for a second. And I think it please let me know how you feel about this as well. Changing your mindset, it is the thing to do in any aspect of your life in any part of your journey. If you want to change, it only will happen once you change your perspective. It only happens when you change that mindset when you get out of that comfort zone or that little box that we have. If you change the mindset of what you think is possible. Because like like Henry Ford says if you believe you can do it or you don't you can't do it. You're right. And I've seen that happen even recently in my life where I'm like, Oh, I can't do that. Oh, that's that's the top there. I like I'm only going to I'm only going to get to displace, and guess what, that's the only place I could got it was that place, but the second you shifted the mindset a bit, then all of a sudden, it opened up more, and you're like, Well wait, wait a minute, is that it? is all I have to do? And I've known that on an intellectual standpoint for quite some time. But changing the mindset is so so important. What do you think?

Patrick Solomon 50:21
Yeah, it's one of those things that is simple, but not easy. Right? The idea of change, your mindset is simple. But if you've been in the habit of thinking a certain way, you it really takes a lot of work and discipline on your part, you got to keep catching yourself. You got to keep going. All right. That's my whole mindset. I got to do something about that. That's why that's why it's hard to quit smoking. That's why it's hard to quit drinking. Really, the simple answer is just Hey, quit, stop, just quit smoking. But it's not that easy.

Alex Ferrari 50:48
Right? Right. It's if you if you don't believe that it's capable of being done that it will never happen. You know, it's, it's, it's, yeah,

Patrick Solomon 51:00
I guess, right. If you, you just need to, you need to get a little a certain, a certain level of awareness that, hey, this thing is possible, I can actually make films and make a living doing them. It just gonna take, you know, these steps, and you just have to embrace that. Once. Once you once your mindset shifts in that way, you know, you're off to the races, you're done.

Alex Ferrari 51:20
And that's the thing people always say, like, when I when I lay out sometimes I've had people, you know, he challenged me on the film shoprunner method. And they're like, Well, you know, I you know, this seems like a lot of work. I'm like, yeah, it is, is gonna take you some time to build an audience. It's gonna take you some that the blueprint is, like, if I showed you blueprints to build a skyscraper, it's there on paper. Right? It's like, it's like the construction guy going. This seems like a lot of work. Yeah, it is. But it's a complete, it's a completely mind shift. When everyone's ever was told, you know, all you got to do is the hardest part is making the movie, which is not and

Patrick Solomon 52:00
Honestly, it's kind of fun. Like, yeah, yeah, it's hard work. Like right now, it's a lot of hard work. And it's fun, do you with marketing, but it's kind of fun. Like I'm learning new things and learn, you know, discovering new platforms and meeting new people. And the process is fun.

Alex Ferrari 52:13
No, there's no knock. I've I've always loved the business side. I've always loved the marketing and design side of filmmaking. It's always been a it's a holistic ecosystem. For me. It's a, you know, when I made when I made ego and desire, I was thinking about the whole, the whole plan. When I was doing it, I was like, that's more. That's fun. That's more fun for me. Right? Without question. Now, I'm gonna ask a few questions, ask all my guests or what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Patrick Solomon 52:44
Just right now if you're especially if you're young filmmaker, and you're trying to break into the business, there's two right? One is, I guess it depends on which part of the business you're after. But but you can, you can make films wherever you are. Right now, it's very easy to make films, just just make films man, make as many films as you can learn the craft of filmmaking. That's number one. Number two is which what I did is that you can also go to work, making money doing you know, in films, you can work as an assistant, you can work as a, as a lower member in a crew, you will learn so much, man, there's things you will never learn in film school, you will learn on a set. That's just a really, it's a really great way to get a free education or get a paid education.

Alex Ferrari 53:30
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Patrick Solomon 53:37
Those are ego lessons, right? Like the ego lesson, especially as a commercial director, right? You're always just right, and your vision was always right. It's great to collaborate, but but being able to let go of your ego in a lot of situations and go Wait a minute, I might not have the answer here. Let's let some other information in.

Alex Ferrari 53:58
And what is the biggest fear you had to overcome to make to make the firt your first film?

Patrick Solomon 54:05
God? That's a good question. I think it was that you know, just failing, right? Like, my fear would be, man, what happens if I if I make a piece of crap and nobody likes it?

Alex Ferrari 54:21
Yeah, that the feel of failure is the biggest one. It's always it's always the biggest one. And three of your favorite films of all time.

Patrick Solomon 54:30
Oh, man, there's just so many. I'll tell you what, there's this one that I that I always go back to that I love and it is Stephen Chow is kung fu hustle. I love kung fu hustle. Yeah, so well crafted and so well done and so quirky and weird. And just, I think that's just an awesome just an amazing film. What else What am I go to that I always like go back to so many men up, I always go back to close encounters to close encounter. was so well written and executed like that, like the writing on that film. I think it's I think it's underappreciated. It's really just an I think it's just an amazing amazingly crafted film on every level. Yeah. And I don't know what would be number 3 The Incredibles Incredibles for sure.

Alex Ferrari 55:26
I love Incredibles. I liked the second one. I didn't mind the second one at all. But the second one,

Patrick Solomon 55:30
I didn't mind the second one. But the first one I thought was just that was another one that when it came out, I was like, oh, man, this is so well written, directed, executed, like everything. All the it's a seamless, wonderfully, perfectly crafted piece of art.

Alex Ferrari 55:42
Yes. Without question. Now where can people find you and in the work you're doing?

Patrick Solomon 55:47
Let's see. So I am on on Facebook. Pat's, Patrick Solomon Facebook. I'm on YouTube, Patrick Solomon. And what is money is on Facebook, the new film what is money is a group on Facebook.

Alex Ferrari 56:01
And when is that coming up?

Patrick Solomon 56:03
I have no idea. So I'm a year into production. My my, my deadline to be done with production was going to be this fall, we're going to try to release that earlier in the year. I don't know if that's gonna happen now. Like I was just about to shoot all my B roll. When, when the COVID hit. So I said I still have a ton of B roll. And she does. Basically almost all my interviews are shot. Not all of them, but most of them are shot. So just still trying to figure it out. If anyone has any suggestions about shooting in the time of COVID. Maybe you can do a show on that I tune in. How do we shoot? How are we going to move forward? How are we going to get a crew together?

Alex Ferrari 56:43
Got it. Got it. Patrick, man, thank you so much for being on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure. Your film touched me when it came out. And I'm so proud to have it on ifH. tv. So thank you for sharing Joseph Campbell's work to the world.

Patrick Solomon 56:58
I'm super stoked.

Alex Ferrari 57:00
I want to thank Patrick for coming on the show and dropping those knowledge bombs if you have not seen finding Joe, it is a prerequisite for every storyteller, every filmmaker, every screenwriter to watch this documentary it is I just love, love, love this documentary. And I'm so honored to have finding Joe available on indie film hustle TV. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including how to watch this film, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle/404. And thank you all so much for the great support that you've given the new show that I just launched inside the screenwriters mind, a screenwriting archive of the best screenwriting episodes from the IFH Podcast Network. If you want to check that new show out, please head over to www.screenwritersmind.com and I hope all of you are doing well in this insane upside down world that we are living in right now. As as a wonderful meme came up on my Facebook feed the other day, this too shall pass. But it might pass like a kidney stone. Alright guys, stay safe out there. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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On the Corner of Ego and Desire: Watch 10 Min of the Feature Film

Well, the day has finally arrived. On the Corner of Ego and Desire is finally available to the world. I know, I know, you guys have been waiting for this film for a long time. With writing and producing my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Film into a Moneymaking Business,  the Rise of the Filmtrepreneur Podcast, and dealing with the entire Distribber debacle I have been slammed in 2019.

If you want to watch just go to www.egoanddesirefilm.com

At a certain point I just said we’ll we are close enough to just release the film near Sundance so that is what I did. The film will be released on Jan 21, 2020, just before the Sundance Film Festival 2020 launches. I thought that would be the most poetic release strategy. Check out the trailer below.

Three hapless independent filmmakers make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival and go through absolute hell in search of the elusive producer that is supposedly going to buy their independent feature film, all within 24 hours. With a producer who stole money from his mother’s retirement account to fund the film, to a director who thinks she’s the next Francois Truffaut, to an actor/editor who is a doormat for everyone, this motley crew of misfit filmmakers have a tough time navigating the chaotic world of the Sundance Film Festival. Ignorance, foolishness and above all ego drive the team to implosion as they struggle to realize their filmmaking dreams.

On the Corner of Ego and Desire was shot on a budget of about $3000 in just under four days, around 36 hours total of filming. Filmed on a 1st generation Blackmagic Pocket Camera 1080p using a Sigma 18-35mmlens as the main lens with a few vintage lenses rounding out the kit. It was edited, color graded and mastered on Davinci Resolve.

It World Premiered at the Raindance Film Festival, and played at NewFilmmakers, Bravemaker Film Festival and had its Los Angeles Premiere at the world-famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

The film will be available on Amazon Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Tubi TV and of course Indie Film Hustle TV. If you watch it on IFHTV you will get bonuses like an exclusive commentary track by me on how we shot an entire feature film guerilla-style at the Sundance Film Festival while the festival was going on, in 4 days, with a crew of about 3-4 people. You will also get to watch raw behind the scenes of the making of the film, a total of over 6 hours of filmmaking goodness. On the Corner of Ego and Desire is available for rental, purchase, and part of the IFHTV subscription.

If you want to watch the film just go to www.egoanddesirefilm.com. If you have already read Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Film into a Moneymaking Business, I use On the Corner of Ego and Desire as a case study in the book and discuss not only the making of the film but how I’m monetizing the film as part of my Filmtrepreneurial Model.

During these crazy times, I thought that the Tribe could use a laugh so I decided to release the first 10 min of the film online for everyone to get a taste of the madness that is On the Corner of Ego and Desire.

If you want to watch the rest of the film for free you can go to Amazon Prime or Tubi. If you want to rent or purchase the film to give a bit of support to IFH then you can go to IFHTV.com or iTunes. Enjoy the sneak preview of On the Corner of Ego and Desire. 

I breakdown the making of the film in my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK) Here is an article where I broke down the making of in some more detail Filmtrepreneur Breakdown: On the Corner of Ego and Desire.

If you like what you see please leave a review on Amazon and/or IMDB. It really helps the film find a larger audience.

Watch the film on

Please share this post with every filmmaker you can. On the Corner of Ego and Desire is my love letter to the struggles and insanity that is being an indie filmmaker. Keep on hustling!

IFH 379: Coronavirus Indie Film Q&A – IFH Tribe Questions Answered

Right-click here to download the MP3

It has been a crazy few days in the world, my friends. With film productions being shut down around the world, movie theaters sitting empty, and film festivals/events canceling because of the Coronavirus pandemic it might feel like the end of days. Hell, there’s even a locust outbreak in Africa, no seriously!

I even canceled my Make Your Movie Bootcamp out of concern for my students. I wanted to do a follow-up episode updating the tribe on what is going on, how it will affect them and what they can do during these insane times. I also answer questions I’ve been getting from the IFH Tribe. I go over:

  • Should I submit to film festivals now?
  • If I had a screening for my film what do I do?
  • Can I get my money back from SXSW and other film festivals for canceling?
  • Can movie theater chains take this hit?
  • Will some studios and distribution companies be able to weather this storm?
  • Tips on what to do while staying home

There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty out there. Stay informed and stay safe. Sit back, pull up another stiff drink and take a listen.

Alex Ferrari 1:33
Hey, guys, I wanted to do a follow up episode to what I did on Monday about the Coronavirus and a lot of questions I've been getting from the tribe in regards to how it's affecting our industry. And a lot has changed in just a day. Actually, yesterday was a massive day of just bad news just coming at us at 1000 miles a minute. And I was emailed and damned a ton of different questions. And I've been seeing different questions on the Facebook groups and boards and stuff. So I wanted to kind of come on and talk a little bit about what's going on how it's affecting our business, answer some questions that a lot of the tribe have. And hopefully this will help you guys through this a little bit more. Now the one thing I wanted to say right off the bat is I cancelled my making your movie boot camp that was going to be scheduled for next weekend, I decided to cancel it because I'm a responsible human being. And I don't want to put anybody in harm's way. And there were people flying in from out of town. And I just, I just didn't want to put anyone at risk. Regardless of what financial damage it might do to me, I decided against it. So I refunded everybody's money immediately. And we will postpone it don't know when it will happen. because not many people know what's going to happen in the next handful of months. But what I will be doing is doing a online version of that course or that boot camp. And I'll let you guys know about it later on. Because I know a lot of people who were coming to the boot camp or were upset but completely understood. And were asking me about the online version. And I know a lot of the tribe around the world who did couldn't fly in for the boot camp. Were really asking about it as well. So just everybody know I will eventually make the make your movie bootcamp available online. So now if you haven't heard and I'm sure you have but I'm going to review a couple of things that happened yesterday. Not only have all of every sporting event here in the US been canceled basically or postponed. Broadway got shut down. productions have been shut down throughout LA and in British Columbia I did a news guest spot talking about I'll Riverdale I think was being shut down and the productions going up there are being shut down out of a precautionary measure as they should. But unfortunately, when these productions shut down, it is going to affect not only the cast and crew of those shows, but the hundreds if not 1000s of people around those productions who are support companies support services that these people rely on just like when you know a major sporting event happens is not just the players and the owners and this the stadium that makes the money but it's also all of those employees all of those support services all support businesses around it even the bars local bars around and restaurants who depend on that revenue to keep their doors open. So it is pretty devastating is a very devastating time. And generally speaking, and I'm just going to clarify this. It's a devastating, devastating time in general, this whole Coronavirus, and how it's affected the world and the deaths and people being being affected by is horrible. This podcast is talking about specifically about our little corner of the world, which is the film industry and how it's affecting us. This is an unprecedented time in history, the film industry has never gone through something like this, only time will tell how many of these major studios will be able to weather the storm. I mean, they're taking a massive hit. And a lot of these companies and specifically distribution companies were flimsy or being held together by a house of cards essentially. And one brisk wind could knock some of these down. So Only time will tell to see how these companies do weather the storm. And I want to say something really clearly here, our industry is extremely resilient. It kept going through major wars, major economic downturns, recessions, depressions, our industry continues, because people out there depend on us, to entertain them, to have them have a way to escape the horrors that they might be going through in life, the issues that they're going through in life, the reality that they're going through in life. And that is our job as, as members of this industry, is to keep that going. And our industry is extremely resilient. I don't think this will ever end. I think this industry will continue to go and go because humans need stories, it is built into our DNA. And that's why I think our, our, our system, our industry will never completely break down. But it will change and it will change multiple times. Now unfortunately, the box office is taking a major hit and movie theaters around the US and around the world are taking massive, massive hits and losses, because people don't want to go or they're shut down in general like they were in China. And you know, billions of dollars are being lost. the studio's are pushing back their releases. And it you know, I just heard Fast and Furious got pushed back up into entire year. And many of the other productions going on are stopping or being suspended until further notice. You know, the movie theaters were already taking a hit before this, you know, the box office numbers were down, but this could really devastate them. I saw many filmmakers had independent film screenings in the coming weeks that they were really depending on for some revenue. And of course, those those revenue streams have now been shut off, they're not going to happen. And even if they did have the screening, how many people would actually show up. So it's devastating not only to the big studios, but even to the independent filmmaker. I mean, I even canceled a screening that I had scheduled for the next couple of weeks. And in two weeks, I was going to have a screening of on the corner of ego and desire in Hollywood. But again, I cancelled that screening because I didn't think anyone was show up. And I also didn't want anyone to be in harm's way. And I cancelled it a little while ago. So that was revenue that I wasn't going to be able to make as well. I know this is tough, it is extremely tough for not only the world, but in our little corner for filmmakers. Because it's tough enough being a filmmaker and trying to generate revenue for your films without having to deal with a pandemic. I mean, no one saw this coming. No one, no one was prepared for this. There is no playbook for this in our industry. There isn't like oh, well this, you know, this happened. So we can do this. And this. There's just no no one. No one saw this coming. Another big area that's been hit in our business is film festivals. As many of you know, South by Southwest has canceled their event, which has been devastating to the Austin market, where I read it was like about $350 million that was going to be generated by that event for the local economy is now gone. And not only that, but unfortunately because there really is no insurance on an act of God which is what this is. Then South by Southwest has no way to refund all of those ticket holders because they've already been spending it that machine has already that that train left the station already months. When they started selling tickets, and those, that revenue was helping them run the machine. But if all of a sudden that machine has runs out of track, which is exactly what happens, there's no way to put to pull back, there's no way to refund everybody that there's just no resources. And south by is going to take an immense hit on this. And, and you know what will happen next year, we have no idea. You know, I wish south by nothing but the best. And I hope that they are able to recover from this, I hope they can figure out a way to refund people, or give them some sort of deal or something. But again, nobody saw this coming. It's insane. It is massively complicated. To cancel an event once it's in motion, even my small event, which was the making movie boot camp, when I cancelled it, it caused a lot of havoc for a lot of people that were involved with the event. But and now I'm so much smaller than a big monster Festival on event like South by. So I could only imagine what they had to go through. But they from what we I've heard, they are going to still give out awards to the filmmakers. But I can only imagine how those filmmakers are feeling. If you are one of those filmmakers listening to this right now, guys, I My heart goes out to you. It is a dream of most filmmakers to get into a major festival and get their film screened at a major festival to see if they can find a home for it through the traditional route. Or leverage that screening into self distributing or something along those lines. And to have your whole life work up to that. And then it be cancelled, is absolutely devastating. So my heart goes out to all of the filmmakers that unfortunately had their films canceled. And my brother from another mother RB bato, from stage two is trying to help all the South by Southwest filmmakers screen their films here in LA, when those screenings will happen, I don't know. Because things have gotten a little bit more serious since I think they launched that. But you can I'll put a link in the show notes that you can go and sign up. If you're a filmmaker, they're a film at South by Southwest filmmaker and go down the path with with stage 32 to see if you will be able to screen those films here in LA at least, to see if we can get some people to some people in the industry to take a look at and possibly sell your film. Or find a home for your film, or leverage it to self distribute it as well. Another question I've been getting a lot is should I submit to film festivals currently because you know, if I'm going to spend 50 to $80 for a submission, and then three months from now, it's canceled? Well, the chances of you getting that money back are going to be nil to none. So should I submit to film festivals at this point? And I know a lot of you out there have a film locked and loaded ready to set out to all the film festivals. The question the main answer I have is nobody really knows how this is going to play out. Nobody knows. So if you're going to submit to a festival, you are taking a risk because right now, as of this recording, who knows where this virus is going to go? How how much of an impact is going to have on the US population or the world population. Nobody really knows there's estimates but nobody really knows what will happen. Nobody knows if it's gonna go down in the summer, which is generally what happens and then it might come back out in the winter. Nobody really knows. But the only things I could say as far as tips on that is look at when those film festivals are taking place. If they're taking place in the summer, odds are that it might continue to go on. It's taking place in the winter. It's a 5050 if it's taking place in the next couple months. Who knows. The next question you have to ask yourself is where is it taking place? Is it a place that is being affected heavily by the Coronavirus right now, if it is and probably not a good idea to submit to a festival that's going to play there because more than likely it's not going to play. So these are the only things I could say I do know of a few festivals that are happening in the next few weeks that are still going on. I think it's absolutely irresponsible of those festivals to do that. And I think that the states that those festivals are in already forcing everybody that has more than 500 or even 100 people gatherings to be canceled. So they might be forced to cancel because again, you know, if you're two weeks away from a film festival, you've spent a lot of your sponsorship money. You've spent a lot of ticket money that's already come in. And now there is no other option. There's no other way to keep that thing going. Just like the studios guys. This might hit film festivals, very well known Film Fest. devils in ways that they might not be able to recover from Only time will tell. Now, I know a lot of you, especially here in the States and around the world, depending on where you are, and what country you're in, are going to be either self quarantine in yourselves, or being forced to be in quarantine, meaning that you're just not going to go out for safety reasons you're going to stay in, you're going to hunker down, and hopefully this thing will pass over may pass by you. So what to do when you're at home for possibly a week or two, you know, I know a lot of schools are being canceled. So there's going to be kids at home. And, you know, the guys the world is upside down right now. It's a very weird time to be alive. So one of the things I wanted to talk to you guys about is like what to do when you're home. I know the first instinct is to stay watching CNN, or Fox News, or MSNBC, or whatever, wherever you get your news from watching it. 24 seven, probably not the best idea. Stay informed as much as you can, through sources that you feel that are reputable, and stay as informed as you can online about what's happening in your area. But when you're not doing that, take this time, because it's an opportunity for you to take the time to do stuff that you might have never been able to do. Whether it because you were working, or you had a commute or you had other responsibilities. Now, you might be stuck at home for a week or two or longer. So take advantage of this time and make it as productive as you can for yourself. You know, take this time to educate yourself as much as possible. You know, take an online course, listen to an audio book, listen to a podcast. Educate yourself as much as you can about what's going on in our industry right now. And and educate yourself about what you want to do if you want to learn how to make a movie. My god, there's hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of videos on YouTube that can maybe walk you through that process. Or take an online course that's a little bit more structured, and maybe will cut your hunting and pecking time online. Do that if you're if you're a screenwriter, right? write a screenplay, start writing your story. Start working on that script, start doing that rewrite that you've been waiting, waiting to do take time take advantage of this time. One thing that happens to me a lot is when I get ill, I get a flu or normal flu or a cold, or I twist my ankle or something like that where I'm stuck in bed where I normally wouldn't be. I use that time as much as possible, because those are opportunities to do things that I normally wouldn't. And yeah, sure you can binge Netflix, you can binge prime, or Hulu or HBO or wherever you watch your stuff. Watch your latest shows and movies. And sure there's time for that. But if you take this time to move yourself forward in your career, that's a positive thing that can happen from all this craziness that's happening in the world. You know if you can Skype with other filmmakers in your area or around the world, discuss projects, ideas, maybe create a writer a writing group through Skype, create a filmmaking group, through Skype with all your other friends from around the country to talk about, not only about what's going on, but about maybe movie ideas about things are happening in something new, create a support group around your friends, your filmmaking, friends, your screenwriting friends, these are things that might have not been able to happen if you were only focused on the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Make this time that you might be in quarantine or self quarantine or locked up in your house as productive as humanly possible. If all your other needs are met, then this might be you have free time on your hands. So use it as productively as possible. You know, there's a lot of fear and uncertainty out there right now. And it's a scary time. It is a very, very scary time right now to be alive. But I know the media has kind of really Hakan this to a hyper level in regards to the fear and creating a little bit of hysteria. Hence why people are buying toilet paper like it's gold Boolean. I don't know. I mean, that's just me. I value a clean but as much as anybody else, but I think canned goods might be better. I don't know. But you can tell that there is a hysteria there is something you know, obviously people are going a little a little nuts. So once everyone gets hunkered down and you know you're in your house, you've got your toilet paper castle that you've built for yourself and your hoarding. Spam. You know, once all that's done, you've got time to, to hopefully focus on yourself, maybe do some, some deep thinking about where you want to go. And hopefully educate yourself as much as possible. You know, when I've had these kind of times in my life where I was stuck in bed or locked up in a house or something where I didn't have access to where I normally would have access to, that's where some of my greatest ideas have come from that as one some of my greatest thoughts have come from regarding my business, my career, everything, it's it's a time that should not be wasted. If you can all help it. You know, it is it's good to crazy out there. And again, stay informed as much as you can. But don't don't go nuts, guys, you know, it's, it's scary. Yes. Be safe. Do you know wash your hands, stay inside, do things that are smart. This is all basic stuff here, guys. Just do all of that. And when all that's done, you have a lot of time on your hands that hopefully, you can turn it into something positive for you, and your career and your path in the filmmaking or screenwriting space. So guys, thank you for listening. I hope this helped hope I answered a couple questions for you guys. Next week, I will be releasing a pretty epic interview I did with film financing expert Franco sama. And we do talk a little bit about the what's going on in the world. But we also talk about the industry. We also talk about how to raise money in today's crazy world, like right now, not a year ago, not 20 years ago, but right now. And it's it was just an amazing interview and I cannot wait to share it with you guys. So that's going to come out next week. someday I'm not sure which day I'm gonna release it yet, but it will be coming out very very soon and I cannot wait for you guys to hear it. If you want to get links to anything I spoke about in this episode, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/379 Please stay safe out there guys. I wish you and your family nothing but Safe travels during this crazy time in human history. So thank you again for listening guys. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 378: Coronavirus and the Effect on the Indie Film Business

Right-click here to download the MP3

We are living in a crazy world, my friends. I wanted to do an episode on the effect the Coronavirus is having, not only on the film industry at large but also on how it will affect the indie filmmaker. With major events canceled like SXSWMIPTVCinemaCon and, Cinequest, indie filmmakers are already feeling the effect. Twenty four of the largest theater owners in China have pulled out of CinemaCon, the largest convention of international theatrical exhibitors. Is the Cannes Film Festival and Market next?

Production has stopped on Mission Impossible 7, which was shooting in Italy and the extremely popular The Amazing Race reality show has been suspended. The new James Bond film No Time to Die has been pushed until Nov 2020. Disney’s Mulan, which is a love letter to the Chinese market has canceled it’s China premiere and the release date in the US is up in the air.

The Chinese box office has been at a standstill. 70,000 screens have been closed since January with no word when they will open. This has cost $2 billion in lost revenue to the Chinese and world film industry. The worldwide box office has lost $4 billion to date and growing each day. The theatrical box office was down 26.6% vs 2018 and this could be a MAJOR nail in the coffin of an already vulnerable theatrical business. We are in crazy times, my tribe.

In this episode, I go over how this event is affecting indie filmmakers, what they can do to prepare, adjust and/or pivot in the coming weeks and months. It has never been more important for filmmakers to adopt the Filmtrepreneurial Method. Diversification of revenue streams is the only way filmmakers can hedge their bets in the uncertain times ahead.

Sit back, pull up a stiff drink, and take a listen.

Alex Ferrari 2:53
Welcome guys. I wanted to give everybody an update on what's going on in the world today and how it's affecting not only the film industry, but how it's affecting independent filmmakers. And I'm assuming at this point, and you guys know about the Coronavirus and the effect that it's having on the world, which is pretty massive if as of this recording today, the stock market has now dropped nearly 20% in the last 11 days. And that's pretty scary today alone, it got almost to 2000 points below dropping 2000 points. As of this recording, I think it's at around 17 1800 still. And it's getting, it's getting kind of crazy, it's getting kind of insane out there. So I know that the last thing a lot of filmmakers are thinking about is like, Oh, this How is this gonna? This is not gonna affect the film industry? Well, it is. And I want her to kind of talk to you all about it. And also, now let's talk about how it's gonna affect the film industry, but how it's gonna affect us independent filmmakers, and how we can prepare for it, how we can deal with it, and hopefully thrive in this new world that we're kind of walking into. I've said many times before that our industry is was being held together with, you know, just holding on, we were just kind of putting tapes and patches on the dam before it broke. And that we were still in fairly good economic times. I don't know if this is going to be where this is going to take us as far as the stock market and how it's going to affect the economy and how it's going to affect us as filmmakers. But I hope it pops back up. I hope it stabilizes and I'm sure it will. I think people are still very uneasy, and there's a lot of confusion out there a lot of unknowns. And when people don't have any security of what's going to happen. People get a little crazy as I saw some videos of people fighting at a supermarket for toilet paper. So I don't think this is the end days, by any stretch. It is something serious. It is something definitely affecting the world. not making any light of it. But let's talk about how it's affecting us and our industry. First thing I want to talk about is the major events that are being canceled. And this is something I've never been, you know, I've been in this business 25 years. I have not heard of this happening because of a virus or pandemic or something along those lines, but South by Southwest has been cancelled. cinequest has been postponed. MIPCOM film market has been canceled. Cinema con, which is a big convention for all the theatrical exhibitors around the world is still going it's still scheduled to go on but 24 Chinese film exhibitors have pulled out, which is insane, because they are one of the biggest markets in the world. It's essentially saying, oh, AFM is open and Cannes is open but no American distribution companies or studios are going to be they're scary. Right now the Cannes Film Festival is still scheduled to go that is still up in the air just like South by Southwest was up in the air. I called it last week, I'm like, I don't know it might get canceled. Can might be the exact same thing. As far as film production is concerned, Mission Impossible seven has stopped production in Italy because of the virus. The very popular show The Amazing Race has been suspended completely, which is a massive, massive hit as far as financial to those companies. Also the Olympics are still going on are still planning to go on the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but who knows. And that's a tremendous amount of production and then tremendous amount of money for the network's for the studios that own the networks, as well as production and things like that. So it's pretty, pretty insane. Film releases. I know at this point, most of you know that the new James Bond no time to die has been pushed back from November and was supposed to come out this month. And Milan might get pushed as well. Milan is a $200 million Disney film. It's the remake of the animated film. And it is basically a love letter to China. So they have canceled the release of it in China, as well as a list of every basically every major release has been canceled in China, which I'll talk to you about a little bit more in a minute. And in May all the major blockbusters are scheduled to go the New Black Widow from Marvel Studios and all these other big movies are supposed to come out and they might be impacted. So this could really, really hit the industry where it hurts. Now, the Chinese market is basically the box office is at a standstill. 70,000 movie theaters in the Chinese market have been closed since January and there is no word until when they will reopen. They have lost $2 billion in revenue so far. And across the world because of this virus $4 billion and worldwide box office has been lost. And major major releases throughout all major releases from the studios have been cancelled in the Chinese and Korean markets, which are both monster markets for us. Talk a little bit more about that in a minute. sag AFTRA also created a statement of made a statement publicly to not only to the studios but to everybody that they are monitoring the situation and their main concern is to protect the health and well being of their members, which are the actors. Well, if for whatever reason, in the coming weeks, things started to get a little insane more than today. sag actors might have to be pulled back and not allowed to work until this thing blows over. I can't I can't even imagine what kind of impact that would have on the studios on television on the streaming services. Now the theatrical box office has been taking a hit lately, from 2018 to 2019. theatrical box office lost 26.6% of its revenue. And that's with the monster movies that Marvel and Disney have been putting out because by By the way, Disney owns the top seven of the top 10 biggest box offices of last year. So if Disney was not around, and Marvel was not doing what it's doing, the entire film industry would be in a much, much worse place than it is now. This, this virus might be a major nail in the coffin of a very, already very vulnerable, theatrical business. You know, I don't think theatrical releases will ever go away, I think it's still going to be a major box office is a major revenue stream for studios. Around the world, people still want to go out but right now, this is people don't want to go out into public places where there's, you know, a lot of people you know, it's it's hurting, it's hurting the box office numbers a lot. And people are already starting to trend away from theatrical releases in the way it used to be. So just like the DVD market, and the blu ray market, and the foreign sales markets, all those market started to trend differently, while the theatrical business is starting to trend differently as well. And the studio system is trying to deal with it as best we can. And I'm gonna keep talking about the big the macro, the macro view of this whole thing. First, before I get into how it's going to affect us, and where the potentials are for us as independent filmmakers. Streaming is up and will continue to grow with Disney plus Netflix, Hulu. And now coming on to the on the playing field, HBO, Max and peacock are both going to be coming on in the coming months. And numbers will continue to go up. So people are staying home, people want to stay home because they're afraid because of this virus. You know, I don't know how long the virus will be I think during the summer, it will, it will more than likely calm down. Historically, that's what happens with with these kind of infections. But in the in the winter, it could go back up again. That is another thing after I started studying a little bit about pandemics in the past, that is kind of the way it goes. Mind you in the past, we didn't have the technology we had, we didn't have the advancements in medical, in the medical field that we have now. So it's not as big of a deal as it was in 1918. With the Spanish flu, let's say we're now there's so much more available worldwide to help with this. And it has been. So I don't know how long this will last. But I know it is going to have a major effect on the studio system, it's going to have a major effect on the entertainment business. in general. It's also affecting the gaming industry, it's affecting so many different industries, I can't even start to list. This is something that nobody saw coming. This is not something that the studio system has prepared for. It's not definitely not something that the rest of the world was prepared for. But let's talk about the studio system. And the entertainment business in general. They, they never they never saw this coming. And I don't think many of them have a plan to deal with it, obviously. So studios that have not diversified their revenue streams are extremely vulnerable. This is what I've been saying for a while now. That the major studio systems, there's only a handful of them that will survive if we get hit with a really big economic hit. And not only is that happening right now, the economy is still you know, getting a little bit shaken up. But just the revenue than the cash flow going to our to the studio systems is getting hurt right now because of lack of box office. You know, what if the so if Sony's film division, all of a sudden, was deprived of most of its box office this year, what do you think will happen to Sony? What do you think happens? If bond doesn't do well, because people aren't able to go see it in the theater? Do you think they're gonna change stuff? Do you think that this might be the thing that drives the studio system to start moving away from box office and moving more towards, you know, a day in day release? I don't know. Now, the question is, how is this going to affect independent filmmaking? Well, I promise you something. And I've said this before, and I'll say it again. I promise that predatory film distributors will become even more predatory. As their cash flow starts to tighten around their necks, if you will, is that cash flow starts to tighten down, they're going to start getting more and more desperate and, you know, it's going to get harder and harder for filmmakers to get any money out of them. If ever fewer depending on what type of deal you signed, it's never been more important for you to have the to use the film to pretorio model to diversify your revenue streams for your film and or films and or production companies. If streaming or theatrical revenues dry up for you as independent filmmakers, which to be honest with you, it's kind of already has, I think we're in good shape in that sense, because not a lot of people are making a tremendous amount of money on streaming, or theatrical. There are some, but generally speaking, that's not been a cash cow. For us as independent filmmakers. There are exceptions and there's a lot of people who are making money, don't get me wrong. But generally speaking, it's not been a it's not the glory days of the 90s or even the early 2000s. So if all of that revenue dries up, and that's the only way you're generating revenue for your film and or films, you're screwed, you're done. But you're not gonna be able to make make money with your films anymore. But if you had other ancillary product lines, if you had other services that you are selling that are outside of this business, meaning online education, merch, mirch services, other you know, other other events, situations, maybe not the events so much anymore. But other revenue streams as I laid out in my book Rise of the film entrepreneur, then you're going to be in a lot better shape, as money will continue to roll in. And you can kind of hunker down while this storm passes. Now the bottom the other thing is, though, this might be a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for independent filmmakers, because now people are streaming more people will want to go to stay home, they want to see more content. And if production slows down, new production slows down. And all the production for these new platforms starts to slow down or stops because of sag or because of worries like they did in Italy, because of Mission Impossible, they just shut down production shut down Mission Impossible seven. I mean, millions and millions of dollars are being lost every day that that movie is not on, and won't be anytime soon. If production starts to slow down, or halt, these streaming services are going to need more content, existing content. And that's where we might fall back in in favor, people will be like, oh, all of a sudden Netflix is like I need new stuff. Let's go out and look what films are available. Let's see what shows are available. Let's see what's out there. And let's start buying stuff up because we need content. And if you're in a good place and have that content for them, and if it's what they need, it might be an opportunity. So keep an eye out for that opportunity. Present yourself in a way that those opportunities might be good for you. And might be attractive for streaming services and new streaming services and new Avon services to to look at if you are working out if you are working with a distributor, and you have a distribution partner, reach out to them and find out Hey, what do you guys do and how is this affecting you? You know, are you going to go to can Are you know what? What do you see happening in the next year? How are they? How are you? How are you planning to deal with this? See what they say? You know, hopefully if the distributor is proactive, they're going to release some sort of statement or email to all of their partners and say Hey guys, this is what's going on. We're gonna keep you updated on everything you know, hopefully distributors would do that. I'm not holding my breath and all of them I know handful will but start to have that communication guys, especially if you're expecting payment expect especially if you're expecting some sort of sales to come in. You really need to start communicating and start figuring things out with your distribution partners. And see how this is affecting people because if it's affecting the giant if is expecting the giant studio system, this gargantuan Goliath it will be affecting your mission. level or low level distribution companies. I promise you, it's gonna hit everybody. You know, the box office is still a major revenue stream for a lot of a lot of studios and theatrical. So when that money starts to dry up, you know, the feds gonna hit the Shan guys. And let's not even start to discuss the foreign sales and international sales. That's going to be really difficult and interesting to see how that pans out over the quarter and the next quarter next 3456 months, especially if the Cannes Film market is canceled. It's gonna be really interesting. You know, I hope by the time AFM rolls around in November, we'll be able to have that I really do hope so. And in all likelihood, it will. You know, I don't want to be you know, a tinfoil conspiracy theorist, you know, tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists like the world come to the end, Walking Dead's coming, I don't believe that I want to as part of being part of my tribe to understand what's going on. And to adjust, pivot, and prepare, if you're in production, to understand where your what what kind of marketplace you're walking into, if you're done with a movie, and you're trying to get it out into the marketplace to understand what kind of marketplace you're working into. If you've been in the marketplace, for a while, understand what kind of marketplace you're you're in, and maybe new opportunities for your film that I've been sitting on the shelf for 234 years, there might be new fresh opportunities for your film, or series, or to dust off some old stuff and see if it hasn't hasn't some new value to it. The world is changing guys. I've been saying this so often over the course of the last year that this was possibly going to happen not this way. But this Something is happening. And again, I hope it bounces back. I hope the stock market tomorrow bounces back another 2000 points, and we start to stabilize and more likely that will happen in the course of the next three or four months, I think we will start to stabilize? I don't know, I really don't know, nobody knows. But I hope that once the virus starts getting weaker, people get a little bit more, you know, wrap their heads around it or under control contained, if you will, once people feel that, then things will start to level off again. But the problem guys, one of the major problems I think the film industry has specifically with the China market is that the Chinese box office market or the film market in China in general has been propping up the the numbers for the entire studio system. You know that this is a new phenomenon. China was not a box office power 15 years ago. This is a recent phenomenon that they were able to build out such a massive infrastructure where they turned into the number one, I think they're number one, or still close to number two, I'm not sure I think they might be number one at this point, as far as how much money they generate in their box office. So the studio system obviously has been able to profit from that all these huge monster international numbers. A lot of times China has major chunks where films are making 234 100 million dollars in their markets. So that is propping up that's that's generating a lot of cash for the studio system. And in turn for us as independent filmmakers until the embargo happened a few years ago. independent films China is buying independent film like crazy, you know, my film was sold. This is mega sold to China, for God's sakes back in 2015. So it was a market and now if you rely too much on one revenue stream, like the studio system might have I mean substantial percentage of their of their box office of their money will hurt when it gets pulled off. This is what's happening throughout the world right now. All of a sudden, everybody woke up one morning and said, Oh crap, we make everything in China. And if China shuts down, which they did, and all their factories shut down, which they did, all our supply chains are shopping, iPhones, every everything gets shut down. So then all by God, we were dependent on this car on this country. It's any country by the way you are any kind of revenue stream if you're dependent on one thing, if that one thing goes you're done, you've got to diversify. You've got to diversify your revenue streams. This is business 101. So I feel that the studio system has has been very vulnerable over the last few years. You know, there have been a couple of companies, Disney specifically who have thrived in this market because of what diversification in their revenue streams. And I've talked in length about that in other episodes. But I want you to understand that that is the model for the future. And if the studio system, the studios, the other studios do not follow suit quickly enough, they will fail. And they will be bought up for their libraries, by Apple, Facebook, Google, or another gun gadget when Goliath out there who wants to get into this space? Someone was cash flush. Okay. So independent filmmakers have a potential to be able to thrive in this business and thrive in this new marketplace. But if you do not diversify your revenue streams, and you live by the old model, you will not make it I'm promising you that. Ask ask around, ask around, go go to our go to our protect yourself from film predatory film distributors and aggregators Facebook page, and sign up a Facebook group and sign up, you can ask see how it is as the front line of what's going on right now. In the business, you got filmmakers right on the front line seeing if they're selling their movies or not selling the movies, they're making money, they're not making money, it is a just a treasure trove of information about what's going on right now up to date, to the minute. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the filmstrip neural model, being a film intrapreneur an entrepreneurial filmmaker, diversifying your revenue streams for your film, regardless of size, is the only way you will be able to survive in the coming years. This is the first blip of what I've been talking about. I hope it stabilizes. But this is the trend, guys. I want you to really hear me on this. This is where things are going. So you really need to prepare yourselves and not dilute yourselves. Or not to fool yourselves. In delusions of grandeur or delusions of well, this is not that doesn't count for me, it does. So prepare yourselves for where you're where your industry is going, and how you can take advantage for your film at a certain window of opportunity. Just like Scorsese Spielberg Coppola did in the 70s. Just like Rodriguez Tarantino, Kevin Smith did in the 90s. And now we have our window, what that window is how long that window will last. Who knows. But the windows of opportunity that happen in in life in general. And there is a window opening here. Because when there is such upheaval, when there is a crash, if there is a major shift in the way business is done in any industry, there's potential for other filmmakers and other projects and other producers to have an opportunity that might not have been there before. Just look at history. So I hope this I hope this episode and this video helped you guys out a little bit to understand where we are right now, where we're going, I felt it was really important for me to come out and talk to you as a tribe. Because I have been getting a lot of messages about this have been talking to a lot of filmmakers about this. And I just felt it was important for you guys to get this information. So I will keep you up to date on as much as anything else I hear. If it's major, I will do another one of these. But if you want the latest updates on what's going on, go to that Facebook group. Just go to indiefilmhustle.com/protect yourself. And they'll take you straight to the Facebook group page, sign up there, answer some questions, and then see if we approve you or not, depending on if you're a distributor or not, you're probably not going to get in. But just answer those questions. And we look at everybody who puts tries to sign up. either me or our moderator, one of our moderators will check to make sure everyone is good. We're very protective of this group. And there's a lot of great information there and people are there to help. If you want the latest on what's going on. Go to that Facebook group indiefilmhustle.com/protectyourself. We'll take you right there. Stay safe, everybody, wash your hands. Don't get crazy. Toilet paper will be there. You know, this is not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. But I want you to be aware of what's going on, and how it's affecting our industry and how it can affect you. Now, if you want to link to that Facebook group and some other episodes in regards to where we're at in the film industry in the new film world economy that we're walking into, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/378. Now, everyone, please be safe out there. Wash your hands for God's sakes, and just do common sense things to keep yourselves and your families safe. Thanks for listening. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

IFH 358: Hybrid Distribution & Selling Your Indie Film with Peter Broderick

 

What is “Hybrid Distribution?”

Hybrid distribution is the state-of-the-art model more and more filmmakers are using to succeed. It enables them to have unprecedented access to audiences, to maintain overall control of their distribution, and to receive a significantly larger share of revenues.

Today on the show we have a legend in the ultra-low budget indie film world, Peter Broderick. He coined the term Hybrid Distribution in his seminal article Declaration of Independence: The Ten Principles of Hybrid Distribution. Peter also wrote a very informative article detailing ways filmmakers can deal with the Distribber debacle and protect themselves if a distributor goes bankrupt. Read that article here.

Here are the Ten Principles of Hybrid Distribution:

  1. Design a customized distribution strategy
  2. Split distribution rights
  3. Choose effective distribution partners
  4. Circumscribe rights
  5. Craft win-win deals
  6. Retain direct sales rights
  7. Assemble a distribution team
  8. Partner with nonprofits and online communities
  9. Maximize direct revenues
  10. Grow and nurture audiences

These principles of hybrid distribution emerged from the experiences of hundreds of filmmakers. Here is a bit on today’s guest. Peter Broderick is President of Paradigm Consulting, which helps filmmakers and media companies develop strategies to maximize distribution, audience, and revenues.

In addition to advising on sales and marketing, Paradigm Consulting specializes in state-of-the-art distribution techniques—including innovative theatrical service deals, hybrid video strategies (mixing retail and direct sales online), and new approaches to global distribution.

Broderick was President of Next Wave Films, which supplied finishing funds and other vital support to filmmakers from the US and abroad. He helped launch the careers of such exceptionally talented directors as Christopher Nolan, Joe Carnahan, and Amir Bar-Lev. In January 1999, Broderick established Next Wave Films’ Agenda 2000, the world’s first initiative devoted to financing digital features.

A key player in the growth of the ultra-low budget feature movement, Broderick became one of the most influential advocates of digital moviemaking. He has given presentations on digital production at festivals worldwide and written articles for Scientific American, The New York Times, and The Economist. In 2004 Broderick launched Films to See Before You Vote, harnessing the power of film to impact the US presidential election. He is a graduate of Brown University, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School.

Now focused on the revolution in film distribution, Broderick gives keynotes and presentations internationally, most recently in Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, Cannes, Guadalajara, Berlin, London, and Rio de Janeiro. He served as Program Co-Director of Digimart, the global digital distribution summits held in Montreal in 2005 and 2006. He teamed up with acclaimed filmmaker Sandi DuBowski to design and teach a master workshop in documentary distribution and financing at the Doc Aviv Film Festival in Israel.

Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Peter Broderick.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:40
Now today on the show, guys, we have a legend in the film distribution space. His name is Peter Broderick. And he wrote an article back in 2009, coining the phrase hybrid distribution. Now what the hell is hybrid distribution? Well, hybrid distribution is the state of the art model, more and more filmmakers are using to succeed. It enables them to have unprecedented access to audiences to maintain overall control of their distribution and receive a significantly larger share of the revenues. Now Peter is a champion for independent filmmakers. He's been doing this for quite some time. And I wanted to bring them on the show not only to dig into hybrid distribution, but you also wrote a very, very informative article about how to deal with a distributor going out of business, how to protect yourself from something like that, as well as digging a little bit deeper in how to protect yourself and what to do next. If you are caught up in this distributed debacle. And Peter is a wealth of information, and we sat down and the interview just kept going, guys, it just kept going. We have it was just like two guys sitting around talking about how to make money in this business. And it I think it goes over an hour and a half. So it is an epic episode. But man, are there a lot of golden nuggets of knowledge bombs in this episode. So prepare yourself to get your mind blown, take some notes, and enjoy my conversation with Peter Broderick. I like to welcome to the show, Peter Broderick thank you so much for being on the show. Peter.

Peter Broderick 3:24
Thanks for having me, Alex,

Alex Ferrari 3:26
I appreciate it. You are You are a legend in many ways in our industry, and especially in the distribution realm. So I've heard your name fly around for years and years and years. And it is taken this disaster called distributor to bring us together Finally,

Peter Broderick 3:45
There you go.

Alex Ferrari 3:47
So how do we? Exactly? Well, I mean, you know what, to be honest with you, this whole dish, and we're going to get into the whole distributor thing. But this this debacle in this this situation, it has brought a lot of filmmakers together, and a lot of people together in a way that I don't think this this kind of tragedy would have wouldn't have been able to it would wouldn't, there would be no other way to do it. It didn't sometimes it takes a tragedy or takes, you know, an explosive situation to actually galvanize a community and put them in a game together. Would you agree on that?

Peter Broderick 4:18
I totally agree. I think that sometimes when I'm speaking, and let's say I'm looking at 200 independent filmmakers, and I think about how atomized their experience and information is they're not sharing with each other. And I think if we could just figure out ways to share how much more powerful everybody will be. And so in the distribute situation, you know, with the Facebook page that's happening in a in a great way and so I hope there'll be more of that to come.

Alex Ferrari 4:48
So before we get deeper and deeper into the distributor situation, how did you get into the business? Can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself in your in your history in the business?

Peter Broderick 4:58
Well, it's there's There's, there's so many chapters, but I'll just do the Haiku version for show in a former life, I was working as a public defender in DC. And then after three years, I decided I had, I needed to find another happier line of work.

Alex Ferrari 5:22
So you jumped into the lucrative, lucrative world of filmmaking.

Peter Broderick 5:26
Well, lucrative. It wasn't about lucrative, lucrative business, it was about passion. And I came to Los Angeles, I was still living in in dc, dc. I did 55 interviews in five and a half weeks, I mean meetings, you could send out interviews. And then on a fateful Friday afternoon, I got three job offers in two hours and met with the people on Monday, and then started working for Terry Malick on Tuesday. So the days of heaven was in post production. And so they were going to do some additional shooting. So he asked me to organize that. And then I was living out of a suitcase with seven days worth of clothes. all my stuff is in Washington for months. And then eventually, I got to go back and, you know, drive out here with with everything. And then I worked for Terry for four years, in the second part of that time, we did the initial shooting for what became tree of life. And Terry put the footage in this in a room literally in a refrigerator. And then, like 30 years later, thought it out. And it's actually in a tree of life, which is kind of remarkable and, and only Terry would would think of that and make it work. So I and then so I stopped working for Terry. Then I started consulting for various foundations about uses of new technology related to film. Then I got on the board of what was then called IP West, now called film independent. And I wrote a series of articles about ultra low budget filmmaking. So it was clerks, El Mariachi, a number of other films. And it was really about how you can work backwards from resources that are available to you. And then write a script that can be made with resources you already have. So you're not chasing money endlessly. And we printed the budgets, which is a kind of as you know, revolutionary act to print a real budget. And, and those articles, there's they're still, they're still connected on my website, Peter Broderick comm had a really big impact. And so more and more filmmakers, not just across the US, but around the world started making ultra low budget features. And it was a it was just amazing that people weren't, you know, spending forever, chasing the permission to make a movie that could go out and make it

Alex Ferrari 8:19
But when you brought this idea of backing into or backing into a movie script or backing into the idea of trying to make a feature film, there was nobody who said that prior to that, or at least, there wasn't it wasn't out in the

Peter Broderick 8:34
In the mid 80s, there was a lot of money that came from home video. So it wasn't that hard to find a million dollars to make a first feature. By the late 80s. The bloom was off the video store rows and the shelves are full. And so you couldn't you couldn't find that million dollars anymore. So then these filmmakers started to do it another way. And I think what what was so exciting about it was the idea that they didn't need permission. They just needed to be smart about resources and write something that could be done with what they had. So in the case of El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez had a gun, a school bus and a dog. They're prominently featured in the film, Kevin Smith was working at a quick stop, knew that at night, nobody was using it to go he could set it it's the funny thing about clerks is that there's this running gag when they come into the store and the blinds aren't up. The shutters aren't up, and that's because it's night outside. you'd realize that. So, so that was exciting. And then one day I was having a meeting with someone who was on the board of if you asked and he asked me what I was what I was interested in doing and he had evidently had a long lunch. He was being very sleepy in the meeting and finally while he kind of wakes up and he says and what else So I said, Well, I'm interested in starting and finishing funding for ultra low budget films, because everybody's running out of money. And, you know, so he goes, I'll help you do it. So, over the next year, he helped me write a business plan. Then, when the business plan was finished, I kind of assumed, okay, now we have a business plan. Now the money's gonna show up. That's true. So there's two quick stories. I was on the west coast. And there was a guy guy who was head of a record label. And we went to him and told him about the idea. And he loved the idea of giving filmmakers you know, their chance to, to start their careers. And it was a great meeting. And then a few days later, I found out that he was in a divorce, fight with his wife, all his assets were frozen. And last I heard he was in rehab. And that obviously went away completely, right? That I was in Washington, DC, and I ended up in this room with these rich guys. And I was telling them about this idea of a finishing plan, but they didn't know what independent film really was. They weren't quite sure. Finishing fun work. So I go outside in the hallway, the number two, the number one guy in the firm was traveling, the number two guy comes up to me, he says, We hear a lot of pitches, but we think you know how to make us money. Well, I was I was, I was glad that's what he thought I wasn't convinced it was the money making operation. But if you believe that, that was all good. So then I went back to Los Angeles, and he called me and he said, number one guys back in town. And he'd like to see some examples of these independent films. So obviously, you know, that's a trick question. If you send them the films that you like, they might run screaming from the room. And if you send and it's, if you don't do that, maybe when it comes time to finance a movie, they're going to not be interested in what you want to do. Anyway, so I sent him El Mariachi clerks. She's got to have it. And he got him on a Friday. And on Monday, the number two guy calls me and says, number one guy, watch some of those films you sent. There's a little pause. And then he says he never wants to be involved in any way. Which I thought was a pretty definitive No. better, better to have it then then have, you know, be in business with him. So that they went away. So then I see the independent film channel, IFC Films, heard about it, and they were interested because they were financing features by more experienced Indies. And they loved the idea of, you know, people just starting out. So an X wave films came together really, really quickly. And we had an advisory board of these fabulous directors from around the world. George Miller in Australia, Peter Jackson, New Zealand,

Alex Ferrari 13:12
Small guys, small guys. Yeah.

Peter Broderick 13:14
And Steven first, everybody just said yes, because they loved the idea of giving folks to chance. And so we started and the second film we did was a film called following, which was Chris Nolan's first feature. And that was, that was a really fortuitous thing. I went to a panel, Chris was on the panel. I never heard of Chris before. And he said he had he was making this film. So afterwards, I went up to him, and I wasn't even thinking about finishing points. I was just interested. And he said, Okay, and so he gave me a cassette, five minutes, and I'm like, this guy's got it. There's just no question. Whatever it is, he's got it. And so we gave them we gave him finishing funds, took the film to the Toronto Film Festival where it did really well then it won the Rotterdam Film Festival. And then Chris was off to the races. It was like guys distributed it got great reviews, and it gave him the opportunity to get funding from the mental and you know, on from there, but the film cost $12,000. shot and 16 the whole crew could fit in an elevator. And it's a remarkable movie, I think still. So that was a great, great story. Because really, what we want to do is not just help a filmmaker, finish a movie and find distribution but also help him or her launch their career.

Alex Ferrari 14:38
So you have a very you have a long past in this business. You've got some shrapnel. I feel that you have some shrapnel and some scarring. Without question from this business.

Peter Broderick 14:52
Well, I feel lucky. Really. I mean, the chance to work with Terry

Alex Ferrari 14:58
Its not a bad first job

Peter Broderick 15:01
Amazing. And then, you know, with the finishing fund, you know, we were kind of in new territory, finding, you know, exceptional filmmakers and films. We did a, we did a digital arm called agenda 2000, which was to give money to finance digital features, we were the first company to that was able to do that. So I've just, I just feel, you know, lucky to have to have these opportunities. And then when? Well, okay, so the next next thing that happened, I went to Cannes was 98. And I saw the celebration and the idiots have shot on cameras designed to take pictures of babies first steps and show them on the legroom television here, world's most prestigious Film Festival there on the giant screen of LA. I'm like this is this is a revolution right here. And so I came back to the US and was talking to my team and they said, Why don't we create a presentation and then take it festivals and show people what's going on. So we did that. And we took it to Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Rio many places. And at first people thought we'd lost their minds, that it was filmed forever, and whatever. And then, all of a sudden, within six months in terms of submissions to the finishing plant, we saw the change. And Kodak, which I've been very friendly with, they thought about financing the finishing plant initially, but they only wanted to finance one movie. And I said, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna let the success or failure of this depend on the success of one film. But it was too risky for them in their own minds to do more than one. Anyway, so then they'd Kodak decided I was the devil. Because I was talking about digital filmmaking. And I said, Well, no, I think codecs great, but I think you should reposition yourself as the image company. It's not about film, it's not about digital, you do the best images, whatever, however, people want to work, but that they couldn't, they couldn't turn the ship, the iceberg was out there and waiting. So anyways, then in a few years later, next wave turned into a pumpkin because IFC didn't want to wait for the back end, we were giving up to $100,000 to films and initially, we would get $100,000 advances. And so we can just turn the money around and make it available to someone else. So it turned into a pumpkin, late 2002. And then some people. And then I went around and talked to people about the state of distribution, because I'd been involved in finding distribution for all the films that we gave finishing phones to. And I found this new thing starting up this kind of alternative approach to distribution that was really exciting. And at the same time, a few people called me and said, you know, could I help them? figure out their distribution? And so I said, Okay, I'll try and then another person came, another person came in since then that was late 2002. I've, I've consulted on over 1500 movies. And the thing that's been lucky there is that I've been by the side of the these filmmakers, as they've been out on the frontiers. And so I can share the lessons they've learned good and bad, with other people I work with people I speak to or people that read my distribution bulletin. So it's, it's such an exciting time. Things are changing every 20 minutes, as you know. And so I, I wrote this piece called Welcome to the new world of distribution in 2008. Which, even though it's 11 years later, still, it's not only still true today, but it's more true than it ever was.

Alex Ferrari 19:08
It's still fairly revolutionary today, which is, which is shocking.

Peter Broderick 19:12
Right! Right! So I really, I really am excited about this idea of these new possibilities that are open to filmmakers the possibility of splitting a rights, the possibility of having more control of your distribution. I think that making a traditional all rights deal should be Plan C. I don't know what Plan B is, but Plan A is splitting your rights. And that's what I call hybrid distribution, which means it's not self distribution. You're working with different distributors to do, the things they're good at, and only the things they're good at not giving all rights to somebody where they don't care about some of the rights and the horrible at others and retaining the rights to do things yourself, which are going to make a big difference. So the combination of what they For you and what you can do on your own, the idea that you can have overall control of your distribution instead of, you know, giving all that control to a distributor is very exciting. And, and in this new world, I think every film needs a customized distribution strategy. Not not a formulaic approach, there was a couple years ago, I was invited to major Hollywood agency. And they asked me to talk to them about the future of distribution. And I walk in the room and I say, think of a spectrum of distribution from a formulaic on the one hand, where every film is distributed pretty much the same way to customize than the other where each film has its own strategy based on its goals, its core audiences. The room gets visibly upset in 10 seconds. I'm like, what's wrong? They go. We don't do customized. So I say, well, you don't need to customize just works better. They go, we don't do customized, we're not set up to do customized, we don't do kind of went downhill from there. But in their in their defense, they admitted they don't do customized. Whereas you look at the you know, major indie distributors now who kind of claim I mean, and there are examples. I mean, sometimes the flex, searchlight, you know, whatever, but mostly it's throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. If it sticks, the distributor will support it some more. If it doesn't stick, they're not going to give you the rights back. And they're not going to support it, either.

Alex Ferrari 21:37
Yeah, I mean, I mean, from my experience working in distribution for as many years as I have, as well, first in post production. And now with with indie film, hustle, I realized that nobody knows anything. First of all, that's that's very true. like nobody really understands anything in regards to distribution, because, like you said, it is changing every 20 minutes. What was true. Last year in T VOD, is no longer true this year, and vice versa. And then there's also brand new revenue streams coming in all the time or platforms, new situations, new options, like tug was never a thing before we could do on demand screenings. And remember when DVD was the Savior, and when VHS was the Savior and blu rays are the Savior now, t VOD used to be but now a VODs, turning into where a lot of the money is being made in the streaming world, like there's so many different things. You know, I find that this is the distribution, you know, infrastructure or the legacy model of distribution. These guys are built this system basically to to benefit themselves. And that's fine. They're a business. And that's what businesses do. But like you just said, perfect example is we got to customize, or we don't customize, they're completely closed off. And these kind of finite mentalities is where they're not going to make it in the long term. As blockbuster proved this Kodak proved, as so many companies that we've seen has proven case in case again, there are new little startups coming up that are shaking up things. I mean, there Netflix was a nobody. And they literally transformed the entire industry.

Peter Broderick 23:16
Well, it's interesting. The juxtaposition of my experience with Kodak and my experience with Netflix, a couple, I don't know, eight years ago, 10 years ago, I was doing a one on one discussion with Ted Saran dose at some festival somewhere. And so in the middle of the discussion, I asked him if he'd read a book called the innovators dilemma. And he looks at me like, as somebody be somebody from inside Netflix telling me because it turned out everybody at Netflix was reading that book. And thinking about how it applied to what Netflix his choices were going forward. And the book is about how a new entrant in an industry that's using newer technologies, challenges, you know, the company that's dominant, and what that company should do. Anyways, so obviously, at that point, they were still red envelopes. And but thinking digitally, and thank you forward. I think the challenge for a lot of indie distributors is that they're, they keep looking backwards. They keep looking for for that hit, again, that they had five years ago, but that that things have changed, and they're not looking. It's not just that they're not looking forwards. They're not even looking around at what's going on today. So they're losing opportunities. A great example of that is the film ketty the documentary it's about seven cats in Istanbul. Okay? So the filmmaker is Turkish she when she grew up, she had like 22 cats in her backyard and now she's living in LA and she said, gonna make a documentary about cats and Eskimo because they're like, they're not like there's not house cats and wild cats. They're just Cats and like in you know their sacred cows in India, they're in a host elevated status. So she goes to goes to stubble films The story of seven cats and then takes it to film festivals. Because she wasn't in Sundance. It didn't get seen there. Because the distributors that they show the movie to didn't have comps on cat movies. Seriously, no, no, I mean, it's, it's true. And also the reps wouldn't do it because they didn't have comps and cat movies either. So finally a Scylla scope calls Seattle, Seattle Film Festival and says what what movies broke out this year? And they said, Well, we had this movie about cats. And they stumbled, we did a screening and we had to do another screening. And they ended up doing for sold out screenings. And so sell scope, watch the movie and they said, Okay, let's let's do it. And they did a great job. The movie opened in New York the first weekend $41,000 in one theater, which is the most in one theater for any SL scope movie ever. And then it went on to make almost $3 million theatrically. And it was a situation where the fact that 86 million people are watching cat videos online, was completely lost distributors that had a chance to be involved with the movie. When I consulted on the distribution. And when I first met with filmmakers, I said, you're going to be fine. Once you get to digital distribution, you're going to be totally fine. It's gonna explode. And I don't I don't know what will happen with theatrical anyways. All those other companies missed that, that history of what was going on online. And so they passed on a movie, and they're so I think, you know, that's it. That's a case where you can't even see an opportunity in front of you because it doesn't fit your model. And, and what I almost I'm always surprised in terms of these companies. And there's various times like I remember one year, I was at the Toronto Film Festival, and I talked to a German distributor and I said to what new things are you doing? New, we're not doing anything new that we haven't done for 10 years. And I didn't know whether it was defensive, or he was like proud of the fact. But it was just weird to me. Because even if you were just doing your basic business, you could still be experimenting around the edges. And, and trying things out and the things that work you can do more of and the things that didn't work. Okay, you tried, you don't need to do those again. And so there's a there's a way in which it seems that you know, some people are hoping they can retire before they have to change anything.

Alex Ferrari 27:52
But isn't that the way in every industry though? Like, if you're if you're entrenched in the in the in the executive branches, you don't want to talk about something that's going to happen 20 years from now, you want to just know, but how about 20 minutes from now? because things are changing that fast?

Peter Broderick 28:05
And also, I mean, think about it, we had the music business example,right?

Alex Ferrari 28:09
And the book and the book business and the book business,

Peter Broderick 28:12
Right! But so it's like, it's not that hard to see that things are changing around you. And they're going to be in your industry soon. And even when they're starting to be in your industry, you just ignore them. So I think that what's exciting now is for the first time well for a while, you know, as with digital filmmaking, and no budget filmmaking filmmakers could decide to make a movie and make a movie, nobody could stop them. And now you can decide to do distribution and nobody can stop you and you can make your movie available globally. Now hopefully you can find partners who will do pieces of it. But you know, my, my view of global distribution for documentaries is that great get a sales company on board. And give them a year. And say for the first year will be good. And we won't sell the movie internationally to consumers. And then after a year, we're going to have the right to sell from our website into unsold territories. So if you sell 15 countries that leaves 170 countries or 180 countries where nobody has access to our movie, and we're going to be able to sell directly into them. And so now you're supplementing or complementing what they do, you're not getting in their way. So ultimately, you have you have not only access but a way, you know to reach those audiences. So the challenge is how do you market online, effectively, globally, and there are a number of filmmakers some of whom I'm working with who are figuring how to do that. So in some cases, they're not even relying on sales companies at all. They're selling directly so I think that you get into a situation where if you if you can find Great distribution partners great. But even without them, you know, for some combs that you can do extremely well.

Alex Ferrari 30:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Don't you? Don't you agree that I mean, I've seen it 1000 times with filmmakers is that we're the only industry that will will spend a million dollars on a product and have no idea how they're going to get it to the marketplace. They just, they're just artists first, and they just put everything they have in it. And then when they walk into a distribution meeting, the distributor has all the power, they have no leverage whatsoever, because they're just like, well, I don't know what else to do. This guy, or this girl is telling me Oh, I'll be able to do this. And you're, and then the cops come out, I love the cops. The cops come out, I'm like, Oh, we estimate that your movie is going to make, you know, X amount here in this territory in that territory. But nobody really knows. And they just give they literally I call it a non tax deductible donation to these distributors, because Am I wrong? It basically that's what it is. Because you're giving them your movie away for 10 years, in hopes that one day you'll get a check. And let's not even get into, you know, the practices of these contracts, and what goes on behind the scenes and all that kind of stuff. But just on the on the first first part of that that statement? Do you find that most filmmakers just don't even think about distribution, let alone how they're going to get it to the marketplace?

Peter Broderick 31:29
Well, it's not only most filmmakers don't, but most companies don't either. So you know, major shadows, they they don't make, you could you know, I think you need a strategy, they don't have a strategy, they just have a plan that's like a formula that you use with the other five movies they just did. So you know what, what I say to filmmakers is the morning they think up the idea for their next film in the shower. That's what I want them to start thinking about core audiences and distribution. And there's so much they can do before they've made the movie while they're making the movie while they're in post production to identify those core audiences to reach out to them to build awareness, not to wait till you know the movies, so called done. So. But I think that, you know, studios are just, you know, they're in their own ruts. And this is how they do things, occasionally. And there's some examples with Fox Searchlight where they really were smart about how they'd figured out the core audiences. You know, Napoleon Dynamite is a great example. So they buy the movie at Sundance first feature, they come back to Los Angeles, and they sit around and they think about, okay, Who should we target, who's the core audience for the movie. So after some discussion, they decided to nerds. And their goal is to get every nerd in America to see the movie three times and memorize the dialogue. And so, the movie opens, the nerves are there. They're back. The second week, they're back the third week, in the fourth week, the nerds are there and their parents are showing up. So now you started with a core audience. You reach the core audience. It's how you keep your movie in theaters long enough that the audience can diversify from their branded Like Beckham is another example. So I figured out soccer moms, daughters and an Indian audience, they spread the word before the movie opens, they come out to keep the movie in long enough, and then it grows. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is an interesting example where first week you know Greek Americans were there the second week, first generation immigrants from all around the world, were there because they thought it was their story too. And so I think if people don't think I mean, the idea that Hollywood talks about audience still in quadrants, older males, younger males all, that is the most ridiculous aesthetic definition of audience

Alex Ferrari 33:57
at the 35 demographic, sir. Yeah, man, I'm like, Okay. Those days are those days are gone. There's in the world of geo targeting. And I mean, you could target down to the zip code, let alone interest lead. I mean, those days are so gone, but because they have all these financial resources and infrastructures in place, the machine can keep running for a little while longer until something else comes in. And that's something else at this point was Netflix or the whole concept of streaming, which I mean, how many when the Netflix start streaming, and when the Disney decide to jump in, you know, I mean, it's a decade a decade for them to that's how big of a shift that is for them to move. And I think they'll do well in their endeavor. They're one of the few I think they're one of the few they're actually going to do well. We could talk about the whole streaming wars thing because I find it fascinating on where we're, we're gonna go with this with this whole thing because Disney plus i think is going to do very well because they just have everything For that certain kind of audience, and then they're going to also include Fox, which was a great purchase, because now they have the adult version of Disney, Fox Searchlight, even if I think they're going to keep that going, I think they're keeping that going as well. But then you've got peacock. You know, I don't know how peacock is going to do with NBC Universal. Now, that's NBC Universal, peacock, Comcast, apple, you know, I there's just at a certain point, how many more subscriptions Can we buy? We can can we purchase?

Peter Broderick 35:30
Right? Right. So what do you think? Well, I think it's, you know, it's funny, because in terms of feature films, we're in this, the domination of franchises, and, you know, and studios. I wrote a piece that's on my website, called the truth about Hollywood, which is a review of this book. It's an amazing book. And basically, the idea that you make a franchise, you know, how much the last episode made and how much it cost? budget, it's not a question of how much the new one will cost, because, you know, and you probably have a pretty good idea of how much it's gonna make. And if 75% of the revenue is coming from overseas, and you know, those franchises are working in China, then why mess around with unique movies? Why mess around with lower budget movies, when you can just crank out this assembly line of stuff? So it's just interesting that then you see what's happened with cable and Netflix. And now now, the now that's where some creativity and risk taking is certainly not in, you know, feature films made by studios anymore. So I think it's, I think it's a, there's hope. But I want to make sure that, you know, that indie theaters can hang in there. Because I think I think that's an important part of the story. Although I think it's going to be more challenging. And this year was a pretty, pretty tough year.

Alex Ferrari 37:21
Yeah. And it's good. I mean, there's only so many books. I'm a huge fan of the blockbusters. I've, you know, I was, I mean, I remember the time when there were no superhero movies, and that went bad. That's why when Batman showed up in 89, everyone lost their mind. But now we're getting one a week, and they all cost $200 million. At a certain point. You know, it's going to start there's going to be it's going to be like the westerns, the westerns had a really great run, I think superheroes like Spielberg says, will eventually teeter off, I don't know when that will happen. It could be another 20 years. But there is such a hunger in the TV audiences, the TV shows that are coming out, you should prove it. There's a hunger for adult, well written entertainment, and independent film is that it can be that but there hasn't been they've been they've tried to create streaming services for it specifically, but I don't think that's the answer. Like I just I don't know what the I have an opinion of what the next step is, should be for filmmakers, like independent filmmakers, but there is an audience for it. And it is there's no reason why we can't be making money and make careers and building businesses around independent film. The ability for it is there the technology is there, the distribution is there. It's just kind of like somebody has all the parts to the Deathstar. But they haven't been able to put it all together yet or figure out how that puzzle goes. Would you agree?

Peter Broderick 38:49
I yes. And I think that once you expand the focus, not just from the US or North America, to kind of global view, and you think about aggregating audiences across national boundaries, then you don't have to have that many people in Argentina, connected and come to a movie, if you've got people in France, and you've got people in South Africa. So you know, a niche can become substantial, if you're able to do it globally. And so I think that the frontier is really thinking about international distribution and how we how independence can make that work, because right now, there's a few people out on that, you know, out in front, but there's definitely more opportunities to come and I also think that curation, which seems to be you know, completely underrated. You know, the thing about Netflix is that I know, at any moment, that there's some great films on Netflix that I will never hear of, they're there somewhere. I would love that. I would love it if I saw them, but I will never hear them. And that's it. Through on Amazon, and it's, you know, through a lot of places. So I think there's a way I think there's an opportunity for something that is more curated, but something that is focused on, you know, emerging independent filmmakers from around the world, where there's a kind of the people that, you know, are supporting that there's an element of kind of patronage or mentoring, wanting to make sure those people continue to have careers. I think there's exciting possibilities there. But the, you know, the major studios aren't going to aren't going to be interested when they can, you know, turn out another Avengers franchise, so. So I'm remain optimistic. I think that, you know, right now, for independent filmmakers, as you were saying before, there's more opportunities than there have ever been, doesn't mean, it's simple. But I think if they think about how they can build a personal audience, then that's the, that's the way to, you know, try to have a sustainable career. When, when I think about sustainability, and it's, that's I may sound like a boring word, but I did a webinar a couple years ago, called sink or swim, how to have a sustainable career as an independent. And it was one hour long, I did, it was my teammate, Keith quad, who why wasn't teamed up with them. And over 700 people came from around the world to this webinar, and it was amazing. And with my distribution bowl, and I have 12,000 subscribers, so I don't need the middle men or women, you know, like giving me permission to reach their audience. So I think that if we can, you know, think about how each each filmmaker can share, he can start to build an audience that they can take with them film the film, that's going to make a big difference.

Alex Ferrari 41:55
Yeah, and that's something I mean, I always tell people about niching down, I do believe that a lot of filmmakers will make these broad movies like I'm going to make a romantic comedy for a million dollars, it has no stars in it. And let's see what happens like that is such a, it's just a, that's like, I'm gonna hit a perfect home run. And even then it still might not be able to make money where I have always, I'm always telling people to niche to niche down to find an audience that's more controllable that you actually have the ability to target attract, keep that overhead, as low as humanly possible. So make make the movie for as little as you can, while still being able to create a minimal viable product for the marketplace and also realize your vision as an artist. So there's that balance that has to happen where a lot, I always tell people, I'm like, if someone gave me half a million dollars, I'd make 10 movies. Like I'll diversify my portfolio, you know, because there's much better chance of making money that way.

Peter Broderick 42:51
Well, I I totally agree. What I say is, what's the lowest budget you can make a movie well for? And, and if you if, say, the lowest budget is $2 million, well, don't make that movie next. I like that. That's fine. Just not next. I was in San Francisco, at a conference of you, I don't know, 10 years ago, and I ran into two women and they were going to make their for their first fixture, they're going to make this historical epic, of course, and I'm like, I've got bad news for you. Right now. And your point of your career there. There was not millions of dollars to finance a movie, anywhere in the world. So I recommend that you think about making a first film that's much more affordable. And they they listen politely. And I wonder why a year later, same hallway, same two women I run into. And I say So what happened? And they said, okay, we we made an ultra low budget feature, and we're in post. And I'm like, that is so great, because now they have an opportunity to launch their crew.

Alex Ferrari 44:03
Yeah, I love I mean, oh, yeah, all I this is my favorite comment. All all it all I need is 5 million at all. I just all I need is 5 million. But you've never made a movie. I know. I know. I know. But I've watched a lot of making of documentaries. And it's, it's amazing. We're the only industry that I know of that just watches somebody else do it and says to themselves, oh, I can do that. I could it's like you never see a real estate guy. someone's like, I'm gonna go build a house. I've never built one but I watched a lot of those shows on on home.

Peter Broderick 44:38
Yeah, I agree. I'm but the other part of it is okay. Beyond the question of how good a movie they can make is the question of how much control they'll have if they make it. So a $5 million movie, they're not going to have the creative control that they're going to have for $100,000 movie for sure. And in terms of distribution opportunities there they've narrowed them so much Where are you going to? How are you going to get 5 million back, you're going to have to give total control of your movie to somebody else. Whereas if it was $100,000, or $250,000, you could split your rights have control over distribution. And so people need to think about how they're going to retain control, or they're going to be sadly disappointed.

Alex Ferrari 45:19
I mean, it's it's the slow game versus the long game. It's the finite versus the infinite people are always looking at. You know, I find I call it the lottery ticket mentality where filmmakers are looking for these mythical stories. And like, I mean, if I hear Robert Rodriguez story one more time, I'm like, Dude, that was 30 years ago, at this point, he came out in 91. You know, so he's getting close to 30 years ago. And the stories of Kevin Smith and El Mariachi and these kind of lottery tickets were just like, amazing moments of time, where those guys happen to walk in at the right place at the right time with the right movie, we're nowadays and I was I was I had this disease for many years, where I thought the next movie was going to explode my career, I was going to get that million dollar deal. I was gonna win Sundance, I was gonna do all that filmmakers have this kind of mentality that they have to break through from where I believe that it is a how many movies Can I make in the next five years? How many? How am I going to build my career over the next 10 years, play that long game, as opposed to I need $5 million from my epic?

Peter Broderick 46:22
Well, also, I mean, I believe in slow distribution, like slow food. So I think that with a strategy, you start out with a strategy, you do the first stage of distribution, you learn from it, you modify what you do in the next stage, and you keep refining your strategy as you go based on the results. So you're going to learn what your assumptions are about those audiences, which audiences are showing up, which are, how you position the movie, is it working, and maximize awareness and each stage and ultimately, you look back on and say, we did the best we could instead of somebody else, you know, screwed it up for us. So I think that if people and there was a time, when filmmakers would come to me, and they say, I'm just, I'm just a filmmaker, I'm just a creative person. I don't want to do distribution.

Alex Ferrari 47:11
Now, there's not a time that's that time is today.

Peter Broderick 47:14
And I'm like, I'm sorry, you have to be meaningfully involved in your distribution. Even if you have distribution partners, you have to be involved, because that's how you're going to learn this this world and sitting back and going to a few panels. And the problem with sometimes As you've seen, I'm sure more experienced filmmakers, they have to unlearn what's no longer through. As opposed to people just starting out, got an open mind. Tell us what's going on. Okay, great. Now, we did it this way, and 95 seven, I'm like, and then here's another dimension that you may have run into. So let's see. This was probably, I don't know, maybe this was eight years ago, I did a series of events called distribution u, where it was just about the newest distribution opportunities. And the first one I did was a day long thing at USC. And afterwards, a nice woman came up to me and said, so I have a question I so yeah. She said, Would you do this for attorneys? So I say I'm one condition. She goes, What's that? She said that they want me to do it. Because they're also arrogant. Then, three months go by, I can say that says an attorney. Three months go by and she comes back sheepishly confounds me and says, I'm sorry that I couldn't have attorneys that wanted you to do it. So typically, now, because I, I seem, you know, I don't know, I've probably seen 3000 deals in these years. And so very, the norm is an attorney can make a great deal, a great 2013 deal for you. I'm like, Well, wait a minute. This is that six years ago, that's so fantastic. Things that you want aren't even in the deal and the things that you don't care about her in the deal, because the deals have changed and what's important, you know, but because they think they know what's going on. They're not like out there trying to figure out what what makes sense now. So I think filmmakers need to be really careful. do their due diligence, not just distributors, but attorneys, raps, whatever, and talk to other filmmakers who are currently or have recently been in business with these people. That's how they're gonna find the truth. And, and even the word even the worst bottom feeding distributor is good at one thing which is telling you what a good job they're going to do with your movie if they're good at nothing else. And and filmmakers, you know, have gotten no love for a long time and then somebody calls up and says, I'm Want to take him to the moon, you know, it's hard for them not to go,

Alex Ferrari 50:03
you're so pretty, you're so pretty. Once you come out, let's just go on at a date and we'll be fine. I promise you, it'll all be fine baby. It happens, it happens all the time. And you know what the funny thing is, I've noticed that it doesn't matter if it's a seasoned filmmaker, or if kid fresh out of film, school, they all fall for it. They all fall for it, because you could be a fantastic filmmaker, but you might not know anything about this side of the business. And that's how these predatory bottom feeder distribution companies, which there are plenty of take advantage of filmmakers. And it's, I mean, do you agree that I mean, I find that I was talking to a distributor the other day? And they said, Oh, yeah, you're the You were lucky, you got to check. Most guys don't even get checks. And that was, they didn't even see anything wrong with the statement that they just said, because it's an inherent issue in the entire side of distribution that like, Oh, it's just a given that you're going to get screwed. It's just a given that we're going to take advantage of you. And that's what I've seen. It's obviously wrong. It's obviously immoral. It's obviously a million things. But isn't that from your experience, seeing so many deals, so many of these kind of bottom feeder? They just, this is just inherent in the deals you get? I got Well, I got a deal the other day from a filmmaker I was consulting with, from a big distributor who will remain nameless, and he's one of these big indie one who proposed proposed that there are for the indie filmmaker, right? And I'm sure you know who I'm talking about 15 year deal with $100,000 market cap marketing cap for a $50,000 horror movie. They'll never see that he didn't sign it because I told them not to. That's ridiculous. But this is the kind of stuff they they throw out all the time. So I'd love to hear your, your thoughts on this?

Peter Broderick 51:52
Well, I mean, fortunately, because I've seen lots of deals. Seeing the experience, I always whenever I talk to new filmmakers, I'm always like, well, who distributed your last film? And how did that go? And you know, so I, I do know where the bodies are buried. Also, also, when I'm talking to distributors, I often find that I know more about what their competition is doing in terms of like, what's what's normal in the industry, so to speak. And then I love it, when they say, I'll say, Okay, I want to the filmmaker to retain the right to sell directly from her website digitally, and I'm on DVD, and they'll go, we've never done that before. And I say, that's great. This is an opportunity to try it. And if it doesn't work, you don't need to do it again. But if you don't try it, you're never going to know if there's an opportunity, you know, there for you. So, so I've been lucky because I just I know that it's not like they're going to say something to me that I'm going to believe that it isn't accurate. I mean, and often I can tell them stuff that they don't know about what's working and what's not working. And so, but I think that you have to be really, really careful, filmmakers should not be distributing for themselves and negotiating for themselves, as you know. And then if they're going to have somebody help them do that, it doesn't have to be a rapper, it doesn't have to be an attorney, it doesn't have to be a producer. But it should be somebody that really, you know, is living in the present. And, and doesn't have a conflict of interest, one of the problems and you know, this with the raps is that. Okay, so the rep takes out a movie, they may or may not work with this filmmaker ever again. But they have a great relationship with Sony classics. Sony classics, makes an offer. So the the rep wants there to be a deal. But they don't want to have be too adversarial with Sony classics, because they want to maintain the relationship with something classic, which is more important than maintaining the relationship with the filmmaker. So they're just it's a conflict. I mean, you should be able to use your good relationship with the distributor to get the you know, the best possible deal even if it feels a little uncomfortable for them, you know, instead of just Oh, yeah, it's like, the former life when I was a public defender, people would go to the prosecutors, and then they'd make a deal. And my attitude was, if if the prosecutor wasn't going to, you know, kind of be fair in the approach, I was just going to make their life a living nightmare with motions and, you know, conflict and so instead of, you know, instead of making that comfortable deal, you know, I had a way to fight for the clients by not, you know, just signing on the dotted line and I think that if people filmmakers or whoever there's negotiating for them says, Yeah, we're really interested in working with you, we just want to make a deal, that's fair. Now, nobody's gonna say I don't want to make a fair deal. And then I think instead of just taking the boilerplate, too seriously, you know, they could, whoever's tied to them can come in with a framework, oh, these are the rights that are available, is how we'd like to structure it. And then if they don't run away, or hang up the phone, then already they're there in your framework of what you want. So don't just be reactive, be proactive in terms of you know how that partnership could work. And obviously, you want a partnership, that's going to be good for the distributor, as well as good for you. You want a win win situation. But you don't want to, you know, a deal. That's, that's never, never going to work for you. And it's not just about money. I mean, obviously, money's, you know, at the center, but you also want something that's going to work well for your film and your opportunities to, you know, make more movies. And I think that it's so unfair for people to, you know, kind of throw a movie against the wall, they do a bad, bad marketing campaign. Yep, nobody comes out the first weekend, they give up, but they're not going to give the movie back to the filmmaker, because lightning might strike through no fault of their own, and it might be valuable someday. So now that you've got somebody got your rights for 710 infinity years, and, and you can't do anything about it, and the movies gone. So I think to think of a not a master slave relationship with a distributor, but a partnership, where you're doing things that are going to help the distribution, and they're making taken advantage of that set of thinking of you getting in the way, and they're doing the things they're good at.

Alex Ferrari 56:52
Yeah, and I mean, it's that whole non non taxable, non tax deductible donation mentality, unfortunately,

Peter Broderick 57:01
well, but if also, but if you're splitting your rights, then you're and you're only giving them the rights that they're good at, and you're keeping your other rights, and you can control your windows, then you really have a lot of control over distribution. And, but it can, it can really work for them as well. But you've

Alex Ferrari 57:20
also created a diversification of income streams, which is something that people don't understand was like, if you go with one distributor, and they don't pay you or go bankrupt, or something happens, you're done, where if you go with four, or five, six different distribution partners, and also self distribute, and also put it on your own website, you know, then like, I always negotiate with any of my films, I need to have it on my own streaming service, I need to have a control of it. So I can rent it, sell it, or use as part of my subscription, and you're gonna do, and you get the customer data, which you're not going to get any other way. Correct. So

Peter Broderick 57:55
and that customer data so invaluable. There's, there was a situation I was in New York, and there was a film I was wrapping and the This was the first time I'd run into a distributor saying they weren't going to give the filmmaker the right to make it available from her website digitally. So I'm walking down, I don't know, Third Avenue, wherever this company was nice. And I realized I'm in front of the building. So I'm going in the building, and I'm not leaving until I get this right for the filmmaker. So I went up there. And then I got everybody around a big conference table. And I explained, I said, This isn't just about money, this is about her opportunities to make more movies. And the only way she's going to get customer data is by selling directly. And, and I know you, you and I want her to be able to make more movies. And that's why it's really important. And they said, Okay, I mean, it wasn't just, oh, give us a piece of the pie, and you'll have less, you know, a smaller piece. So I think that it's so important for filmmakers to figure out a way to build, you know, relationships with the people in their audience that send them boring updates. But send them information they want to receive, be personal and passionate on the website, in the emails, whatever. So they, they, the people in the audience feel they're connecting with this human being that they really want to, you know, nurture and support. I think a lot it's possible when you take that approach.

Alex Ferrari 59:22
Now, before we go I wanted to kind of dive in a little bit to this whole distributor debacle which is what brought us together in the first place. Tell me your thoughts on disturber you first of all, you did write this amazing article. unbeknownst to me, I found it I think it came up on my radar. And then I reached out to you I'm like I gotta I gotta publish this on the on indie film hustle because it's it was wonderfully written really great information on there. And then you put it in the Facebook group I started protect yourself from disturber and people started looking like Okay, so what is first of all your Whole take on distributor and I'll ask you a few questions in regards to that article.

Peter Broderick 1:00:04
Well, I've known distributor from day one. And for years and years and years, I think they did a good job. And my, my sense of what's happened is there was like, major, major mismanagement internally, in the last 12 months, were distributor thought they had the cash flow, to continue to pay people, you know what they were owed, and then just guess, ran into this stark reality that the money wasn't there. And their margins were so low, that they were never going to catch up.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:45
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. But did they take but did they take? So basically, what happened was that they took money that was residual money that was coming into the bank account and using it to keep the company afloat and hoping that other money would come in? Because they were

Peter Broderick 1:01:08
they were paying filmmakers to I mean, it wasn't like they stopped paying all filmmakers. You know, I think that at a certain point. They just realized that they were in an impossible situation. And that and that, and that at that point, then I don't know how they decided on the ABC process or the bankruptcy process. They stopped communicating with filmmakers. And so, people were in the dark. I mean, I, I know, I have a lot of clients. And I know you had you were early on the, in the, you know, alert system. I was the one that held it. I watched, I watched her that that first podcast, and but so many people, even though you've done a couple podcasts, you know, anyway, written an article variety written article comark, as we get in touch with me who had no idea? No, of course, if you have happened, they were living in igloos. Pluto, I don't know. And so what I wanted to do, because some of the stuff on the Facebook side wasn't wasn't accurate. I mean, the idea that you have to have your film taken down first is not true. And I understand why people thought that. But then when you realize that Netflix agreed to not require that until just shift the pay to the filmmaker, then, you know, that's what we should be pushing iTunes and Amazon and other people to do. Absolutely. And now, in some cases, it won't work. And then you get into the taking it down and finding another aggregator situation, but so I just got so, you know, fairly self protective. filmmakers who were in this situation had no clue. Then I said, Okay, well, I'm going to figure out what the steps are. And it you know, so the, obviously, the first step is to terminate, officially terminate, you know, your agreement. And that's as easy as just sending an email to distributor saying you're terminated because under the distributor contract, if they go into an IBC process, then you can do termination, you know, immediately. So first step is to terminate, then, you know, I looked into what to do about the platforms. And basically, if you go to a platform, if you say, that's the term, I just sent this out yesterday that some filmmakers, copyright, is it the copyright? Yeah, if you say that copyright infringement is happening, then they pay attention. And there's a way to get them in each. Each place has a department that deals with stuff, attorneys and whatever. And then you can, even though, you know, the classrooms don't want to deal with individual filmmakers. In this case, it seems to me because so many filmmakers are involved and have been affected by distributor, they should make an exception and just, you know, develop a kind of blanket policy where they could say, Okay, we'll just make you the pay. And you know, that'll be it. With glass Radner that's running the NBC. And real quick, can

Alex Ferrari 1:04:27
you explain what an ABC is and why they didn't file bankruptcy because I think a lot of people don't understand what that is.

Peter Broderick 1:04:33
So ABC stands for assignment for the benefit of creditors, which, if you were a creditor, that would sound good, but in fact, in an ABC situation, it's it's a lot looser, less transparent than in a bankruptcy situation. And one thing we know is the company doing the ABC will get paid, obviously, which is lower

Alex Ferrari 1:04:59
Which is less Ratner,

Peter Broderick 1:05:01
right? Yeah. And their lawyers will get paid. And then next one that what will happen is the secured creditors will get paid. And then, and the filmmakers are obviously unsecured creditors, so they're going to be last in line and they'll get pennies on the dollar if that. If that right. So I think that there's an advantage to an ABC. From the standpoint of a company that doesn't, you know, want to go through the strict process, it gives them a little more flexibility. I mean, I still don't understand why. To my knowledge class Radnor has gotten in touch with no filmmaker

Alex Ferrari 1:05:40
glass Ratner to my understanding glass Ratner has Well no, as of as of a couple days ago, everyone got this letter from GD ABC LLC.

Peter Broderick 1:05:51
Okay, well, they're not not the filmmakers that I'm involved with got that letter.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:56
Yeah, this is starting to come out. And if you go on the group, the group is actually starting to post I got the letter, I got the letter. And here's a link. So this is the only official communication to everybody in this, this debacle is this letter, which is absolute BS. And it just when we looked at it, you're like, it's gonna take nine to 12 months. But what I love about this letter is like how much was in the end, it says here, nine to 12 months, the ABC is expected to be a nine to 12 month process before any distributions or funds are made. That means that means all the attorneys have to get paid first, then my favorite part is the amount and type of claim, can you tell us how much we owe you? Well, we can't because you haven't given us the reporting on the back end residuals that you owe us. So how can we you know what I mean? It's, it's, it's this is basically they're just walking through the process for legal purposes. But this actually means nothing to actually filmmakers getting their film, money that they're owed back, let alone money that they basically stole for service unrendered for like myself, where I invest I put in for a client, I put to them for films, and it cost me $4,000, to submit it to the platforms. And that's how I was going to do it. I had to call my credit card company up and get it refunded by the creditor. Yeah, yeah. And that's what we started putting it out to people on paypal at six months. In credit cards, it's 90 days. But if you if you reach out, and if it's a little bit farther than that, you can go look, these guys are the defunct company, there's fraud involved. They did, they took my money, and they said that they didn't do anything. There's other ways of getting your money back. But if you go back farther than that, it's a little bit more difficult. But I was able to get my money back. Thank God. I know a lot of other filmmakers have been able to as well.

Peter Broderick 1:07:41
Right. Well, the other issue is, I think that in the Netflix situation, basically, distributor had a process where they would release the rights back to the filmmaker in a kind of simple way. I don't know, I don't know exactly what it was. But there was a policy. But I don't think that that happened for Hulu or some of these other places. So then. So then, if you go to platforms directly, and they asked you so what's your ID number? What's your account number? Good question. I've no idea what the distributor account number is.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:28
It's a nightmare. It's your it's a pure nightmare, also, but from what I understand, from filmmakers I'm working with only the only company that has come to the plate to try to fix this is Netflix. Netflix is quietly reaching out to individual producers and filmmakers who had deals with them, you know, buy out, you know, as far as, you know, licensing deals, and are doing something in regards to making it right. So if they're owed another $200,000 off their deal and distribute got that money and never paid it to them, they're slowly going to start creating ways of them to make sure that they get their money, because I feel that they're doing it very quietly, by the way, because Netflix doesn't want the bad press. The other guys haven't even caught on to this yet. But I think someone in the legal department probably said Hey, guys, so you're saying you're saying Alex that Netflix is going to try to make up any monies that

Peter Broderick 1:09:26
any monies that were saying to the stripper that Wow, that's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:29
And also change it over to a direct you know, pay direct. But the thing is, is and I want to ask you this, Peter, because this I think is something that one of the distributors and one of the most vocal people on the on the platform brought up originally was on Joe Dane on on the the, the Facebook group was this a stripper thing is just a very simple symptom of a much larger problem, which is the entire system of Philippine immigration and how it runs where The the platform's have forced film aggregators, or film, excuse me, forced producers and studios, all of them, including the big boys to run through these five companies. On a technical standpoint, I completely understand it's like going to a post house, completely get it. But the problem is that they also forced them to deal with the money without any regulation without any fiduciary responsibility, without any sort of oversight on millions and millions of dollars distributed. Rob was running hot, not to hundreds, but probably 10s of millions of dollars of residuals probably ran through that company a year based off because they were they were one of Netflix's preferred vendors. Exactly. So how is that make any logical sense? And then also, on the on a legal standpoint, I'd love to hear from an attorney. Are the platforms somewhat liable for forcing us to go through these companies? I mean, to do business.

Peter Broderick 1:10:57
Okay, well, let's go back to steps. Okay. Another another question, which I think is an important question is, is aggregation a sustainable business? And I would say that, if you have if it's possible, another business, so let's say,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:17
from your digital, there are post outs or bitmax.

Peter Broderick 1:11:20
Yes, right. Right. So in that situation, as long as they're not having to deal, they can kind of automate the process, and they're not having to spend a lot of time dealing with individual filmmakers, you know, maybe it's a breakeven situation, or they can make a little bit of money. But when people look for another aggregator, now, I'd listed in the, in the distribution, building the qualities that they should be looking for, and one of them is to, you know, get help if they needed from a human being. And and that's not, that's really not an option for most of these places. Because they don't want to have the personnel to have to deal with filmmakers when they you know, something goes wrong. So as to the question of, do the platform's have any responsibility? I don't, I don't, I think what? I don't know the answer. And I certainly don't know, I'm not an entertainment attorney. So I have no clue if there's some, you know, some way that that could work. Because I think what they'll say is, well, we didn't make you go through this aggregator.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:34
You make us go through all aggregator sites, only five of them?

Peter Broderick 1:12:38
Well, there's, I think there's actually more now, okay, we could go over that at some point. But we didn't make it go through this aggregator you chose to go through this I read or now In fact, it's interesting with distribute was preferred, right, Netflix for Netflix. And then what happened was, the Netflix filmmakers started not getting money. Then they went back to Netflix, and they said, Hey, what's going on here, and then that Netflix stepped up, and then they actually did something proactively. The other folks I think, are just, you know, down in their foxholes, hoping that they don't have to do anything about it, aside from the money. I mean, they just don't want to do they don't want to try this sorted out and,

Alex Ferrari 1:13:23
and then and then guys like myself, and you are still making a stink out of this and, and creating more. Look, if I hadn't released this info. If I didn't done that podcast, people would probably still be in the dark and it still be information would be kind of loose all over the place. Yeah, no, that's true. And you know, so it was it was us launching this information and this initiative to get information out there for the filmmaker, that we even know what any of this it's it's, it's still disgusting how this company is run this whole. There's to put it, this could have been a very easily dealt with situation like guys, something that like a public announcement, hey, when something went wrong, we mismanaged our thing. This is what we're gonna do. This is how we're going to take care of you guys. It's just simple stuff. Man. That's simple stuff. It doesn't have to be. But there's still even to this day still have not made a public announcement class, Ratner's only cares about themselves, because they want to get paid. So it's, it's, it's fascinating how that how this company is going. But I do think that this is a symptom of a much larger problem, you know, and is this a sustainable business model? And our and I always tell filmmakers, as well, is your film a good candidate for self distribution and going through an aggregator? Because if you can't recoup the money that you're spending to get these films up on the platforms through the platforms, and there's no good ROI there. Why would you do something like that? then figure out other revenue streams or figure the other partners?

Peter Broderick 1:14:47
Yeah, but I think that's complicated because it is it's it's not just revenue, it's being on a platform. So when distributors started out, what was distinguished distributor from anybody else was they could guarantee That you would be on iTunes, and nobody else could do that. So, you know, being on iTunes was something that people valued aside from the money just, it's like legitimation.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:12
It's a vanity, it's a vanity platform in many

Peter Broderick 1:15:14
ways, not just vanity. But I mean, I think that in terms of filmmakers careers, you know, they can say, you know, my film was at that point being on iTunes was, you know, a big deal. So, I think that I think that the idea of having an alternative, where you can choose a traditional aggregator where they're going to take 25%, and do not much more than this trimmer did. And then at one point, distributor was also pitching a subset of their films to Netflix, and who and places like that they weren't charging to do that. And then if they got, if they made a deal, then they would get, they would get some money, but not a percentage, they would just get some fee, I think then later in the charge for it, and well, I think later, what they did was they said, Okay, we'll pitch it to Netflix, if you agree to give us 15% of the thing goes through. So I think there was a shift.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:13
But also, I sold one of my first feature I sold to Hulu through them. And the deal was that I had to pay to get the movie pitched. If they don't get the movie, if they don't accept the movie, then I get a percentage of that fee back. But also there's a 10% cut off of the off of those deals to Netflix and distributor, and Netflix and Hulu. So that was it. But it was constantly shifting at the very end, they were charging $20 for you to get a check. I mean, literally. Yeah, I

Peter Broderick 1:16:45
think that once, once the they were on the downhill slide, then they they just kind of tried to grab different methods and hoping against hope that they could make it work. But I one thing I do think, though I don't think there was fraud, I don't think there was intentional, I really believe that it was just gross mismanagement. Because I know that you know, who ran distribute changed over the years, but at least in my experience with a lot of filmmakers who have worked with a distributor, I felt compared with other folks out there. And this includes distributors, I think that they were behaving, you know, ethically and that cooking the books or whatever. And I think that one of the problems with the dashboard was that it wasn't so much that it was and I'm sure that at some point, it got totally out of whack, but they weren't getting good information back from the platforms, either. So it was a challenge where, you know, Amazon didn't send them a report, even though there had been money and you know, whatever. So I think the idea of it, the dashboard was great, but I think that in the execution, it was it was problematic. So anyways, I think that there are steps that everybody can take, I'm glad that he got a letter saying that nine to 12 months until any monies paid. I mean, that's amazing. And I one of my questions would be is glass reading or getting paid monthly?

Alex Ferrari 1:18:21
Of course they are.

Peter Broderick 1:18:24
No, but they might have a flat fee. They might have a flat fee if they have a flat fee. But if they're getting paid monthly then to say nine to 12 months is just

Alex Ferrari 1:18:31
they're milking the cow. They're milking the cow as long as they can. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I gotta I gotta reach back out to Seth, I got to talk to him that glass renders what the deal is after this, because it's it's pretty insane. Also, you know, I don't know if you know this or not, but the LA Times is doing a very deep investigative report on this. It's very deep, and they've they're going in deeper than any of the other. Other reporting has been done. And they're going places that I can't, because I don't have the resources. Nor the nor nor the legal department here at indie film hustle. Right? They're going to be two. So that's coming out, hopefully in the next week or two. So I've been talking to them heavily as well. So it's it's it's this is an ongoing on story. This is kind of the first of its kind. There hasn't been a film aggregator that's gone down. There's been distributors have gone down, but they've never been aggregators have gone down. So this is a very interesting and unfortunate situation.

Peter Broderick 1:19:35
Well, I think Alex, one of the things that I dealt with at the end of my thing was what do people do if another distributor goes under? How do they handle that and what how to think about it, and then what can they do to minimize the chance this will happen to them? And one of the things you know, I said is that they really need to pay attention. Are they getting their revenue reports on time? Are they getting paid on time? There are other companies out there who are not paying people now. And and I think that is one of the lessons from this is, if the company's going south, and you can get your film out from away from them before it goes into an ABC or bankruptcy process, then at least you have your controllers your movie. And it's not, you know, it's not that situation. So I think people have to be proactive, and really paying attention. I think some filmmakers, they're like, I don't know if I got paid. Like, I don't know, if I got a report. I mean, like, What do you mean, you don't know, your email isn't working, you're totally disorganized, what's going on here? So I think people have to be careful. I know, with a lot of distributors, even though, contractually, they need to pay, they need to send out revenue reports, they don't, and then you have to call them and then they'll send out a revenue report. So already, already, it's your responsibility to convince them to send you the report that they're legally obligated to have sent you. And then, and then on the question of auditing, auditing is expensive. You know, with many of the boilerplate agreements, I mean, well, how I think it should read is, if you audit somebody and you find an error of 5% or more, they should pay the cost of the audit. But it's that's not in the normal, boilerplate? godhra? course not, of course not. But you know, and, and think about it from the standpoint of a studio. I'm not saying what studio but it just, you know, generic studio, they could write a contract, so filmmakers will never make any money, legally, they won't, because of blah, blah, blah, blah, or they could just do accounting, so they'll never make money unless they audit them. So in that situation, the only people they really have to pay clearly as the people who wanted them, which is going to be a subset because they don't want to lose, you know, feel that they're gonna piss people off, it's gonna affect their career, plus, they don't want to spend $10,000 a month or whatever, not a cause. But, you know, in situations when there's a lot of money involved, and often, auditing is, you know, maybe the only way to go and ultimately that can that can totally work.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:29
Can I see one question? Because you've been, you've been in this game for longer than I have in the distribution space. What is it? Why? It might be a foolish question, but why are distribution companies? Why are these contracts so predatory in nature? And how, why what At what point did it start back in Chaplin's day, that just like, we're just going to screw, this is just a part of the way we do business? Because it's an inherent thing in all distributors do it in one way, shape, or form? They always I mean, it's, I'm just asking,

Peter Broderick 1:23:05
Well, I love Okay, here's the conversation. So the filmmakers talking to the distributor who wants the movie and they say, Okay, we'll just send you our boilerplate. contract, and we can we can we can make, you know, we can negotiate from there. Okay, so the filmmaker has to understand what they've just said, is we're gonna send you the worst contract we can dream up in 1000 years, yes. And well, we'll negotiate to make it less terrible. I'm like, wait a minute,

Alex Ferrari 1:23:30
Or your or foolish enough to sign that one? Because a lot of people just signed back, but totally.

Peter Broderick 1:23:36
So what if we set it another way? What if we said, okay, let's just agree on an overall framework, in terms of you know, and then let's, we'll start with the kind of fair framework, and then we'll negotiate within that, instead of we start with a horrible deal and make it you know, 5%, less horrible. But I but I also, I think that this is an area where if people have somebody helping them who actually knows what's important, there's a lot of room for negotiation. And one thing that I say to all filmmakers, you should never negotiate by email. You should only negotiate either speaking to somebody, whether it's on the phone or in person or through Skype. And so this goes back to this story. So let me ask you this, Alex. So you, you want to know if somebody's telling you the truth. You can just hear them. Just see them or hear and see them. Which of those three is going to give you the best idea to hear and see obviously hear and see Oh, no, no, he just hear, okay, because when you see them, they can do you know, kind of clever things, but they can't do the same with their voice alone. You've very true. So that's why when you're negotiating with somebody, you not only want to know whether they're telling you the truth, but then you can respond to what they say. And you can understand well, in this on this point, there's no room for negotiation, they're not. But on these other things, there's a lot of flexibility, you'll hear that you'll hear between the lines, you'll know all that information, you're doing it by email, you'll learn nothing like that takes forever, and you end up with a crappy deal. So but I think that, you know, if you try, and I, the other day, I was, I got a contract from a foreign sales company. For a documentary, and it was so fair. I was like, wait a minute. What's wrong with this contract? There's,

Alex Ferrari 1:25:40
there's something hidden somewhere.

Peter Broderick 1:25:42
It's just good. The territory is good, the terms fair, I was like, stunned. And some I know, some cases. One case with a distributor, she paid a lawyer to make the contract as simple and clear as possible. And another case, I was asked by a company to help them make a fair deal with independent filmmakers. I who works within the filmmakers, I was startled. And they did. You were

Alex Ferrari 1:26:13
you were the filmmaker. Whisper is basically.

Peter Broderick 1:26:18
But I was really proud of them for you know, taking that taking that, you know, position to begin with. So

Alex Ferrari 1:26:24
which is which is funny, because they're like, Look, we obviously we've been screwing filmmakers for so many years, we have no understanding on how to talk to filmmakers in a fair way. We need you to come in and consult. I mean, I'm just joking. But yeah,

Peter Broderick 1:26:39
but I mean, you know, sometimes, you know, I get criticized that I'm like, anti distributor. I'm not anti distributor, either. There are good distributors out there. And there's lots of experience of good ways to work together with a distributor, but I'm anti taking advantage of naive filmmakers. I'm anti, you know, behaving fraudulent only in terms of reporting. I'm anti, you know, using your leverage to, you know, kind of force them to make a bad deal. I mean, until you take advantage of their idealism, and their hope. Because, you know, I, those things are, and and it's interesting, because there's companies we won't name have been doing bad things for years, taking them to court, and they're still in business. And the only way you can explain that is that filmmakers don't do due diligence. Because if they did, these companies would have no nobody that coming to them anymore. They need they need fresh blood, they need fresh victims all the time, the company will work. But I mean, it's not. I think sometimes filmmakers are scared of doing due diligence, they think that other filmmakers won't tell them the truth, or it's too much time or they don't know how to do it. But

Alex Ferrari 1:27:57
I can I can I stop you there for a second. Because I want I think it's something really important. I think this is something in the psyche of the filmmaker, where they might not do due diligence purely because they don't want to know, they don't want to know that the new beautiful girl that's saying that you're beautiful, and I'm less we should go out, or the new good looking guy that's really interested in you. You don't want to know that they're scumbags. You don't want to know that they're going to hurt you. You just don't want to know. And it's almost like a denial thing. Because I understand that being a filmmaker, I did that early on in my career, at so many different levels in the filmmaking process. And I feel that there's a little bit of that when, when doing due diligence.

Peter Broderick 1:28:35
Well, I think that's true. But I mean, on the other hand, if you've worked for years, to make a movie, agree, again, and you understand that this is your chance to make sure that you're getting in, you know, in a relationship with a good quality group of people. I think it's essential, and maybe it's hard, scary, strange. But if you don't do it, like I can't protect them, and you can't protect them. They have to, they have to step up. And this is the whole idea of reactive versus proactive. The You know, one of the things that really makes the difference between the old world and the new world is that in the New World, filmmakers have to be proactive, making their movies, finding distribution, marketing, building personal audience working on their career, they have to be proactive, they can't wait for things to come to them.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:32
I always say the the the gods from Mount Hollywood are not going to come down and anoint you like they used to. I mean, those days are gone. I mean, does it happen every once in a blue moon? Sure, but it's so rare. You know, but, I mean, I remember when I was coming up, I was I was trying to do things like Spielberg and Scorsese did in the 70s in the 90s, which didn't make any sense because that window had already closed. And now I know a lot of filmmakers, especially filmmakers of my generation, that are still trying to do things like Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith. And I'm like, Dude, that God, that is that that window is close. So right now, we're in this wonderful window, that in 20 years, people are going to try to do things like we're doing now. Because they're they don't understand what's happening now, or better yet looking towards where this is all going. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Which is, I think, one of the jobs of both you and I try to at least take a good educated guess on what's happening in the coming years and months. Nobody really knows, but at least we have an idea?

Peter Broderick 1:30:48
Well, I would say, Alex, it's it's simpler in the sense that I mean, because whether it was no budget filmmaker, digital filmmaker, new world distribution, you know, some people think I have some ability to look forward. I don't think I have ability to look forward, I think I might have ability to see some things in the present more clearly. And so I think, I think it's the idea of understanding what's happening to how and how things are changing now, that's going to be the most helpful. I don't, you know, I can't speculate wildly about where we're going to be in two years. But I do see things I do see opportunities now. And if it filmmakers, when they're making their strategies, can really have a way to test them with audiences, reaching out connecting with those people having them, give them feedback, and they can, they can go step by step and figure it out, I'm sure. And I and I think it's exciting that, you know, in the past, it was all about, you know, going to Sundance and making a deal. And now we realize it's it's way more complicated than that. And even the people that go to Sundance and make a deal often end up disappointed. And that you've, I'm sure you've seen this many times where the official story is this, this, this indie film was ahead. And you talk to the indie filmmakers about what really happened, and you realize they didn't get any money, they didn't have any control, or so many opportunities lost in the distribution, although it's officially ahead. So I think that people just need to, really, you know, pay attention, and then take all that information in and, and go forward. Both find a balance between realism and optimism.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:37
That's exactly now I'm gonna ask you if you quit, because we could keep talking for at least another two hours, Peter. But I do appreciate you taking the time, I asked a few questions. I asked all of my filmmakers, all my guests, excuse me, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Peter Broderick 1:33:00
I think it's important to do good networking. I, at one point, a client of mine was going to the Berlin Film Festival and, and I said, Okay, from the time you land in Berlin, until the time you get on the plane to come back to Los Angeles, I just want you to be talking to everybody meeting everybody, you know. And then I said, Wait a minute, that's wrong. From the time you get on the plane, until the time you get off the other plane, I want you to be doing this. So I think that really this idea of networking in the best sense where you're meeting other people, you know, the idea is that at some point, you can help them at some point, they can help you maybe you'll be able to collaborate, maybe I'll be able to share information. I think that's an essential part of making this all work. I The second thing I would say is, when you're choosing projects, um, figure out the movie you have to make, that you can't help yourself, but make that you're passionate about making, and not one of 20 projects that you could make. When I when somebody you know, gets in touch with me about a film, if I have a sense, and then maybe grow out of their own experience, whatever, but when I have a sense that that's what's going on. It makes a big difference. I'm way more interested in those movies. And then the third third thing would be when you're talking about your movie, Don't tell me it's Star Wars underwater, or cross between Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies, and videotape. Tell me what's unique about your movie? Tell me what's different about your movie. Tell me why your movies, something we haven't seen before. And don't describe it based on other movies. And I think that also increase our chances. And then the last thing I'd say is think in terms of teams. You know, it's an it's really hard to make a movie. So you've got to find You know, good teammates that can go through hell and high water with you. And when it comes to distribution, you might you needed a team to make the movie and you're going to need a team to distribute the movie. And that's, that's not even including the distributors. So you need to think in terms of teams and find people that you trust and and compliment or supplement your own skills and experience. And together, you can do amazing things.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:26
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Peter Broderick 1:35:34
Well, I don't know if longest is quite the word. But the lesson I learned that I've never forgetting is trust your intuition. So, you know, over the years, that's, you know, generally how I proceeded there been a couple cases, not even a handful, where I went against my intuition. And I paid the price always and your mind a wish, and I'm sure your intuition is true, is smarter than my rational power. So you, you've got to be in touch with that. And you got to honor it. And, and if you don't, you know, you'll be sorry.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:18
Now, what is the biggest fear you had to overcome when just walking into this business in the first place after being a public defender?

Peter Broderick 1:36:27
Well, there's a backstory when I was in law school, instead of studying black letter law, I ran a film society. I spent about 40 hours a week running the Yale Law School Film Society. We brought Dr. Fritz long at just Robert Michonne to Yale. We showed two nights a week. We gave grants to filmmakers we had we did a Russ Meyer Film Festival, the first in the US,

Alex Ferrari 1:36:57
But you were studying to be an attorney. But yet you didn't realize that this was the love

Peter Broderick 1:37:01
Yeah. Right. So then when I and I, when I stopped being an attorney, it was like, Okay, what can I do, that I'm really passionate about. And there's a great book that I recommend to your listeners, called, what color is your parachute? And it's about how you figure out, you know, what, what role in the world is going to, you know, make you the most happy and fulfilled, and then how you're going to how you're going to make that happen. So the first part is exercises, which people try to skip over. And those are crucial. And then the next part is about how to do networking, how to interview people for, you know, information, how to do resumes, and how to do all that stuff. It's a it's a, it's, there's a new edition every year since I don't know the 60s. And it's it made a huge difference in my life. And I recommend it to everybody.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:00
And the toughest question of all three of your favorite films of all time?

Peter Broderick 1:38:11
I love children's paradise.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:14
Good movie. Whatever comes to mind. Yeah, it won't be on your gravestone, I promise.

Peter Broderick 1:38:29
Um, there's just so many. I mean, it's just

Alex Ferrari 1:38:42
Any three that pop into your head is fine.

Peter Broderick 1:38:49
Well, I'm just thinking of the criteria and movies that I have. So I love Blade Runner. Sweet smell of success. So many great movies for that. So the last thing I just want to mention if if people are interested to this distribution, bowling, which is how we met. Yes, exactly. If they want to come to the website, and just sign up, it's peterbroderick.com and a couple times a year. We send it out. It's free. And there have been a couple issues recently that my teammate Keith has written about how to build partnerships with organizations and, and how to use conferences as as the beginning of the distribution for documentaries, which are invaluable. So encourage people to sign up.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:44
And that's the best way to get a hold of you, peterbroderick.com?

Peter Broderick 1:39:46
Yes.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:47
All right, Peter, again we could talk for another hour or two easily. But thank you so much for coming on, and dropping the knowledge bombs on the tribe and really being a champion of the filmmaker, independent filmmaker for as many years as you have. So thank you for Very much, it's been an honor speaking to you, sir.

Peter Broderick 1:40:02
And it's been great speaking to you, Alex, and you're fighting the good fight. And we all we all need you on the front lines,

Alex Ferrari 1:40:08
Thank you, my friend.

Peter Broderick 1:40:09
Okay.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:11
I really want to thank Peter not only for coming in and dropping knowledge bombs on the tribe in regards to hybrid distribution and everything else we discussed in this episode. But I really want to thank him for being a champion of independent filmmakers, you know, I, I really pride myself and trying to be that for not only my tribe, but for all independent filmmakers. And I have nothing but respect for anyone in this space that really, truly is trying to help independent filmmakers make a living doing what they do, which is make films be an artist. And there is ways of doing it. And we're out here trying to show you guys that there is a way and you don't, I repeat, you do not have to rely on this legacy film distribution model the old world as, as Peter puts it, the old world distribution model, because you are not going to be dependent on one revenue source or one company or one person. And you're going to put all your eggs in that one basket, in hopes that that person or company will take care of you, and actually do right by you and actually send you a check and pay you the money that you're owed. And without any Bs, you need to diversify your income streams from your films as much as possible and to do as much by yourself as humanly possible. And a combination of hybrid distribution, which is part of the film entrepreneurial model of what I've created is one part of this entire method that I created to create multiple revenue streams that can continue to pay you for years to come. And we're going to go much more detail into that in future episodes. And of course, in the new book, Rise of the filmstrip runner, which comes out sometime in November. So again, thank you, Peter, if you want links to the articles that he wrote about distributor and how to protect yourself from a distribution company that goes bankrupt, and his 10 principles of hybrid distribution. In his seminal article in indie wire, I put those links in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/358. And guys, if you haven't already, please, please, please, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com subscribe and leave a good review for the show. If you get any value out of this, please, please do that it helps out so much with getting this information out to as many people as possible. And I will also ask you to please share either this episode, or the show in general, or the website of indie film hustle to as many people as you can, but at least five filmmaking friends, five people that you feel that are going to find value in the work that I'm doing with indie film hustle. Thank you guys so much for your support. And again, if any of you guys are going to be at AFM at the American Film market, I'm going to be around please email me at [email protected] And we're going to try to set up a little get together or I'll be able to sit down with you for a little coffee or something like that. If I have time, we'll schedule it. Love to meet the tribe. I know there's going to be a lot of tribe members out there at AFM this year. So please reach out. Let's get together and if I can provide any value to you whatsoever. While you're there, I'll be more than happy to do so. Thanks again for listening guys. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 342: Making Money Self Distributing Your Indie Film with Naomi McDougall Jones

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Today episode is probably one of the most important shows I have released in some time. On the show is filmmaker Naomi McDougall Jones the writer, actress and producer behind the indie film Bite Me, a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits them, directed by Meredith Edwards.

The filmmakers of Bite Me have decided to take a radical approach to distribute their film: they’re doing it themselves. For 3 months, they traveled in an RV around the U.S. and screening the film wherever they can – be it a theater, a bar, or someone’s living room. Not only did they tour around the country like carnies they also documented their entire process with a docu-series.

EVERY FILMMAKER NEEDS TO WATCH THIS SERIES. It is mandatory for every IFH Tribe member. I’ve never said this before so take it seriously. It will save you a ton of pain and suffering. Naomi is so open, raw and honest about her experience. Get ready for one heck of an interview.  Enjoy!

Alex Ferrari 0:00
Today's guest is Naomi Mcdougall Jones. And she is one of the filmmakers behind the independent film bite me which is a subversive romantic comedy about real life vampires and the IRS agent that audits them. Now what's incredible about this story is what they did and how they went about trying to make their half a million dollar budget back. Now they have no bankable stars in the movie. So there was going to be a little bit of an uphill battle to be able to recoup that money. And then when they went down the road of trying to find a distributor, they were just so disinherited by the horror stories and how the system is literally rigged with most distributors, not all but most distributors. And that whole model, that whole legacy model of traditional distribution is kind of set up to screw the filmmaker, I hate to say it, but it's the truth. There are really, really good distributors out there, like indie rights, which I highly, highly recommend. And there's a couple other ones. But generally speaking, every distribution company I've dealt with, other than a handful have been just horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible. And Naomi really wanted to kind of do something interesting. So they literally went on a tour around the country. And they called it the joyful vampire tour of America, where they rented an RV, put some things on it and went around to city after city like a carnival, and, and showed their films and sold their wares. Older ancillary products made money with their movie, and were in complete control of the revenue coming in. And their bravery of what they're trying to do. And this entire crazy journey. What's documented in this must see, I repeat, must see documentary series called the joyful vampire tour of America, where they literally as if I may quote her, they pull their pants down and show the good, the bad and the ugly of everything. They're completely transparent with all of their numbers. If they screw up, they let you know if they make money. They let you know what they could have done better. What could they have done worse, they interview other other filmmakers and their processes in this series. It is an amazing must see series for anybody wanting to make a movie in today's world. And specifically, you're going to try to self distribute your film. A lot of the things that we talked about in distribution, you know, even six months ago, eight months ago a year ago is obsolete now. It everything changes so rapidly. You know why? Because the industry is trying to figure it out. Everything is changing so quickly. The consumers are changing so quickly. Everything is changing so quickly, we got to try to figure out ways for independent filmmakers to actually make money. And Naomi was wonderful. She's a wonderful guest. She completely is transparent with everything and drops knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb with also a few inspiration bombs as well. So I'm not going to talk anymore. Without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Naomi Mcdougall Jones. I'd like to welcome the show. Naomi Mcdougall Jones, how you doing?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 5:32
Hey, I'm great. Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 5:34
Thank you for being on the show. I greatly appreciate it. You guys reached out to me. And I heard about your craziness. And I said I need to I mean, you're insane. And I love it. And anytime I mean, insane filmmakers who are good at it, because there's crazy insane, which is just like, I've lost my mind. I'm an egomaniac and that we've met those filmmakers. Yeah, but but you were you're good kind of insane. Something ambitious. You have Audacity. I love that. You had an audacity, I'm like, we're going to do this watch. So I felt that was a perfect story for film intrapreneur. And because you are a film entrepreneur without question, you are a a definition of entrepreneurship without question. So before we get going, I want to know, tell me a little bit about your film bite me and how it came to life because we're going to talk a lot about this film.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:29
Sorry. So binary is my second feature film. I wrote it. I was one of the producers and I started it. And it is a subversive comedy about a real life vampire IRS agent who audits her.

Alex Ferrari 6:45
Now when you say real life vampires like someone who identifies as a vampire.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:49
Yes. So there is a real global community of people who identify as vampires in real life. Well, you say of course, but not everybody knows.

Alex Ferrari 6:56
I mean, I've been I'm very, I'm very hip that way. Yes. Because when you say vampires, like cuz people might think is like, Is this like, interview with a vampire? I'm like, No, this is like, these are people who are real, who are in the lore. I mean, I, I had a lot of golf friends in high school, so I am aware of this.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:12
So so some portion of that community believes that they need to drink human blood to stay healthy. And they do through donors through donors. So so the genesis of the film was wanting to I to write a really great romantic comedy. I love romantic comedies. I'm really sad that the genre has taken such a horrible nosedive.

Alex Ferrari 7:33
Ever since Nora Ephron left us.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:35
Yeah, I know.

Alex Ferrari 7:36
She was so wonderful

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:37
The early 2000s it's just been terrible.

Alex Ferrari 7:40
It's been pretty rough.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:40
So anyway, so I was sort of, like, how do you? How do you make something smart, and edgy and well written and feminist and just like a well made movie that is also a romantic comedy. And I found out about this vampire community. And those two ideas kind of smashed together. And

Alex Ferrari 7:57
What what I mean, I heard the story when I when I saw the trailer, I'm like, well, this is genius, like, and the reason there is the IRS agent is, is because they are trying to identify as a nonprofit because of their religion. Or,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:11
Well,

Alex Ferrari 8:12
How does that work?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:13
So they so vampires would tell you that that vampirism is not a religion, it's it's a fact of their lives. Sure, and identity. But the vampires in the film have registered as a church, right, basically, for tax reasons. Right, possibly, to scam the government slightly. They get audited at the beginning of the film. And that sort of sets the whole story in motion. I mean, seriously, that just alone is hilarious.

Alex Ferrari 8:42
I mean, just that concept is it's a very high concept in film, which is great. Now, the other thing that I found interesting about this, is that you guys, you guys raised a lot of money for this film. I mean, I mean, and no, it's considered in the in the world of studios, a low budget, you know, argue some of them would even argue to say it's a micro budget, I wouldn't call this a micro budget, but it's a low budget film. The budget from what I've read is half a million, correct. That's right, that is a lot of money for a for a romantic comedy, with no marketable quote unquote, actors in it. So how, first of all, how did you raise the money for this kind of project? And then we'll talk about how we're going to get the money back.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 9:29
Yeah, well, so I made my first feature film, imagine I'm beautiful on a true micro budget scale for $80,000. And that we had crowdfunded most of that, and then kind of cobbled the rest of it together through some small investments. And then, you know, we made the film and it won a bunch of awards on the festival circuit, that film actually even got a traditional theatrical distribution deal, but we put it like and there are some things I love about true micro budget filmmaking, but we wanted a bigger.

Alex Ferrari 10:03
Yeah. You want to eat? I get it. You want to time to play.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:07
Pay ourselves and people and things like that

Alex Ferrari 10:10
Bigger toys to play with. Got it?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:12
Yeah. So we, when we felt like having demonstrated that we could do that with 80,000 that we could go out and raise the half a million, which we did over a three year period, it took us three years to raise the money. Yeah. Which is as you as from the face you're making you know, it's brutal.

Alex Ferrari 10:31
Well, yeah. Because how many how many filmmakers Do you know are still looking for that money to drop any day? Now that investor is gonna drop that money? And when you look, and you look at the clock, and you're like, oh, wow, five years have gone?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:42
Oh, totally. And, and, and it's brutal, because during that period of time, there's no guarantee that it will work, right? Because you also know that right there, the filmmakers were, like 20 years into this and never have found the money

Alex Ferrari 10:54
A day before a day before the money will go away.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:57
Yeah. Right. So. So it's just sort of like the sheer willpower of yourself and your team to keep going and the belief that this will eventually work out. But so we did raise, we use the New York's tax credit. So we took out a loan against the 25%, New York tax credit towards financing the movie, and the other 75% we raised through equity investments from private investors. We raised it from around 20 investors. So it was a it was a matter of cobbling together smaller investment amounts.

Alex Ferrari 11:32
Okay. So that makes that makes sense. And the tax credits are a huge deal. Especially. I had another New York filmmaker on the other day. And they they were saying that here, New York is a wonderful place to shoot. I hear they're just super open. And you know, and now let's think it's like 300 bucks. He told me that for all permits, like you could shoot

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 11:52
Yeah everyone assumes it'll be really, everyone always thinks it's really expensive to shoot outside in New York, and it's actually the cheapest place to shoot,

Alex Ferrari 12:01
And has the most production value. Yeah, they were they're really open because everyone here at La You mean you even you can't you need a permit to shoot in your house. Right? You I mean, technically, you need a permit to shoot in a house if someone calls you like if you're shooting a little movie in your house. And if some if the neighbor doesn't like and calls the cops, you will be ticketed, and you will have to go to court and pay a fine Oh, it's because because we're in LA. So that's why you assume all big cities are like that and they're not LA is LA is murderers,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 12:33
Although funny thing. So we have a scene that takes place in Central Park and and what we learned about Central Park is that you don't have to pay extra for the permit. However, you do have to convince the people in charge to let you shoot in Central Park. And and they've segmented Central Park into a series of tiny little fiefdoms. So even if you're shooting in a really bright area, you have to go convince like five different people to let you shoot on their patch of Central Park.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
That it's just basically like, like Lords Lords of the manor if you will. Like little like fiefdoms like little fiefdoms like you were saying, little Lords that you have to convince us Lord, can we shoot on your grass? It's free, but we just liked you know, yeah, but we need your blessing. So please. Wow, that's, that's super weird. That's hilarious. That's actually hilarious. Um, okay, so you're shooting in New York, you're shooting this movie. Now? Did I have to ask you a question? Did you at ever consider trying to cast a more marketable name, or a more marketable, traditionally marketable name in some sort of parts, which will make it easier to sell them? A film of this budget learned? I'm just curious that

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 13:48
I mean, I think realistically, for half a million dollars, unless you're friends with that person. It's it's virtually impossible to get bigger actors than we got. I think we certainly had ambitions to do that. And I feel like there you always hear these stories of like, people getting so and so for this tiny film. And I feel like underneath those stories, they're almost always related to those people before. Because because the problem, of course, is not the actors, it's the agents. And so like, of course, we put offers out to bigger people, but I'm almost certain that their agents never gave it to them. Because why would they don't want Daniel Radcliffe doing this film when Marvel might call at any moment and pay them 17 times the cost, right?

Alex Ferrari 14:38
If you're, if you're offering him let's say $50,000 for a day, the agents gonna pull in a little bit of money off that they rather pull it off the millions. Right and that's something and that's something that independent filmmakers even listening to this or watching this are not aware of this like, agents you there's so many Guards or gatekeepers to some of these actors. So like with my first film, I had an insane cast, but they were all friends of ours and they were all like they like all come out. I'm in LA Oh, come out for the day. Yeah. And, and these people have been in big huge movies and, and but they were all friends. So it really does help

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 15:19
It makes all the difference. Because as I'll tell you, we're really crazy story. So our cast, as we'll probably talk about in a moment are not like a list actors, but are named actors, in a sense, like they've been on their faces. So one of those actors we were, I had actually written the part in the film specifically for and we reached out to her, we, through our casting director, we submitted an offer to her agent and and I had actually written a personal letter explaining this that with the offer, and we haven't heard anything, and I was like this agent has not, has not given her her this offer. I just had this feeling. And so we had a mutual friend, and I asked the friend if she would just be willing to forward my letter to this actress. Just to make sure she'd gotten it. And within about half an hour, this actress called me and was like, of course, I want to do this movie nobody's ever written apart for me before. And her agent had not given her the offer. And she had to call her agent and be like, Hey, what's what is going on? And they were like, Oh, um, oh, yeah. Sorry. Sorry. And then they were incredibly obstructionist, like, the whole time trying to make a deal with her.

Alex Ferrari 16:40
Oh, absolutely. There's there's there's two quick, quick acting stories. One. The same thing happened when Tarantino when he was doing Pulp Fiction, submitted for James Woods. And James was agent didn't give it to them. And then after the movie came out James Woods, Matt quit and then quits like, yeah, I sent that to you like what? And his agent never gave it to him. And he was pissed. Sure. And there was another story of some filmmakers who this great story, they actually went to a film festival and Ed Harris was speaking. After the talk, they bum rush, the stage jumped on the stage. And they had a DVD player portable details A while ago, DVD player and showed them showed him the trailer for his for their film that they they would like like, you know, like a sizzle reel that they'd shot. And they literally went into the back. He's like, Come follow me. And he went into the back alley to smoke. And they tell him his whole story that I want you to play the par because you're you will be playing our alcoholic father, father and all this. And, and Harris said, Yeah, I'll do it. And I mean, and that Harris, if you remember, has doesn't do independent films. Like he's, he's one of those actors. He never did. But he said he was going to do it. Everyone at CIA was just trying to torpedo that left and right. And it was Ed that said, Sure. I'm doing this guy's so make it happen. So unless you're able to get direct access to some of these actors, it's it's extremely difficult. It's impossible.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 18:14
Well, because the agents are directly disincentivized from allowing that to happen. Did you know if you heard about Bill Murray's hotline? No. Okay. He's talking about please. Oh, please, Oh, please. Oh, Bill Murray does not have an agent, and refuses to have an agent for this reason. So Bill Murray has a hotline number that you can call that anybody can call and leave a message pitching their project. No. And then then from there, so so I read this story once written by a filmmaker who had eventually gotten Bill Murray to be in his movie this way. And he said, so he called the hotline and he left a message with a pitch. And then, like, three months later, it gets a call from Bill Murray being like, can you meet me in LA for lunch tomorrow? And the guy was like, like, No, I can't I'm so sorry. Like, I'm in New York. And Bill Murray hangs up the phone, click and the guy is like, and then. And then three months after that, Phil Murray calls him again. And he says, Can you be in? Can I pick you up at Li x in like, 12 hours? And the guy was like, Sure, yes. Yes. So he gets in an airplane goes to LA x. Bill Murray picks them up in the back of a limousine. They drive around for like, three hours or the driver dies or after three hours, they talk about the movie, Bill Murray says that he'll do the movie. And then they drive him back to LA x to drop him off. And the guy is like, like, Can you just like write on a napkin or something that you agreed to do? no proof that nobody's ever gonna believe that this happened. Right and what it will do? I don't think he wrote it down. But he did do the movie eventually.

Alex Ferrari 19:56
Wow. That's amazing. But you have to buy How'd you get this number? I'm not gonna promote it. But I just curious how do you know I think you can google it like I think it's I think it's a it's just a thing. Yeah. I love Bill Murray. I just absolutely love Bill Maher. He's like the coolest human being coolest. I mean, amazing. Okay, so did you call Bill Murray, you should have called the business. There wasn't a role for him. He could have played the female vampire he would have so love it. Alright, so you you've raised half a million dollars to make this romantic comedy about vampires. Now, when you were doing this, did you have a niche audience in mind? Did you figure out like, okay, we're going to target this group of people, because I'm assuming the the vampire community itself is a the people who identify as vampires is fairly small comparatively to the general public. But people who like vampires is a fairly large, yeah, niche audience. And then there's four and there's horror fans and people that actually it could spill over to was that was that a thought process?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:04
Oh, very much and actually circling back to the casting conversation that we were very intentional about how we cast based on the audience, even though we we weren't able to get bigger actors. So our our working hypothesis was that our our audience was going to break down into two groups. One, we lovingly term the mega nerds. So like people who at which I would like.

Alex Ferrari 21:31
I have a life size yoda behind me. So

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:34
I just I just clocked that

Alex Ferrari 21:38
this is a safe space this is a safe space.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:41
For people who play d&d people who are larpers people who are mega, sci fi comic,

Alex Ferrari 21:46
Comic Con, Comic Con,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:47
Comic Con, that sort of thing with the Vampire angle, and then secondarily, people who love romantic comedies. But we figured that that we needed to be a little bit more specific with that groups, we we figured people who love romantic comedies, and also Harry Potter, because the the the film is very much about sort of the feeling of being an outsider, and wanting to be seen and accepted. And so we felt like the people who were at the convergence of that were going to be the right people.

Alex Ferrari 22:22
Interesting. So that was just a demographic, I'm assuming in like direct ads and things like that is what you're talking about. target those people

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 22:29
We right, so we didn't test that. At the time we tested it before we released the film, and it did prove to be correct. But I am a person who likes romantic comedies and Harry Potter quite strongly both and so we figured that that was a pretty good cipher, mega nerd got it met. Yep. So and also the film has an almost entirely female creative team at the lead character is a is a super badass, edgy female character. And so we figured also, we wanted to grab people who liked that kind of edgy, feminine feminist content

Alex Ferrari 23:02
And know how did you target them through like Facebook ads and things like that?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 23:06
Through Facebook? Yeah. So when we eventually released the film, we had a number of marketing tactics. So so we did do the Facebook ads direct, okay. And then, and we, we had slightly different messaging that we marketed the film as to those two groups. So like, for the mega nerds, we pushed the vampire angle more strongly. And for the rom com people,we push the love stories angle more strongly.

Alex Ferrari 23:32
Interesting. And that actually, because I mean, I always preach in you know, as a filmtrepreneur like you have to niche down niche down niche down and understand who your audience is. So I find it interesting like because if you can try to, if you're going to try to reach romantic comedy lovers, that's too large of an audience. You don't have the resources to to do that. But when you combine the Harry Potter romantic comedy area, it niches a down, but it's not a niche that you would conceive normally it's like, and that's an interesting concept. I've really never thought of it that way. We're like, Okay, well, people who like romantic comedies, and also like Harry Potter's are probably gonna like this, let's do a test. Let's do a test ad, which you could do for 20 Yeah, 35 bucks, 50 bucks, right, and just kind of just test out your hypothesis.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 24:18
And it was interesting. So we we tested way at the beginning of the putting together the marketing materials, we we did a B test those two different demographic groups with our trailer. And we had exactly the same click through rate from both groups, which was really interesting because we thought maybe we've learned that one was stronger than the other and then target the phone that way and it actually came out totally evenly.

Alex Ferrari 24:42
Real. That's interesting. So that's a good way for people listening is well, you did market research prior to like you was trying to figure out how to do this by by doing these kind of like little test Facebook ads and stuff like that. You're basically doing a lot of the stuff that I preach, which is fantastic. And Hi, you're on the show. All right. So obviously, you had a very show you had a good,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 25:03
though just to close the loop on the casting thing quickly. So because we had the feeling that that was who our audiences, we then decided that it was important to get actors that that had fan following specifically in those groups of people

Alex Ferrari 25:18
so smart,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 25:19
that aren't necessarily household names, but we've been known to those people. So we really wanted a Harry Potter actor very much. And we ended up getting Christian Colson, who played Tom Riddle and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And then we got Naomi Grossman from American Horror Story. Perfect. And then Annie golden from Orange is the New Black, which we figured she's fabulous content. I mean, she's incredible. So we tried to think about casting.

Alex Ferrari 25:45
So it's so that is, again, what we preach. And it is, it is so wonderful to see this because, you know, look, if you made this movie for 50, grand, you have less to risk, but you have half a million dollars, which is a substantial amount of money for an independent film. And you're being very smart. So far, in this journey, I'm seeing it, you're being very smart and strategic on how you're doing this. Because again, I've always said like, if you're gonna make a horror movie, you might not be able to afford Brad Pitt. But you might be able to afford Robert England to come out for a day or two, who has a huge horror following. And if you're doing something that's aimed at 80s Horror, I mean, he's a dude that you would probably want to cast and probably affordable, comparatively, you know, to, you know, obviously, you can't get Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep or something like that. Right. But they actually are larger in the niche that you're trying

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:34
zactly it's who were. So we had, we had two young women. We premiered at cinequest in San Jose, California. So to

Alex Ferrari 26:44
get my foot my first film was it was awesome.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:48
I left in the quest. So we had the premiere. We had two young women drive 30 hours from Michigan, to San Jose for that premiere, because Christian Colson tweeted about it. And then later, they moved to North Carolina before we had a Brooklyn screening where Christian clothes was going to be there. And they drove another 20 hours from North Carolina to be at that screening and meet Christian Colson. Like that is the kind of fan that you want.

Alex Ferrari 27:18
Yeah, yeah, that's the kind of fans you want. And you in, in all honesty, you can't do a film like this without that kind of strategy. Like it's like, if you just like, grab, you know, grab a whole bunch of friends, or no name actors or non recognizable non marketable actors and try to do half a million out, which I've seen multiple times, it'll die on the vine, it just won't go there. So you have to this is like, you need something. You need some angle,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:45
that's going to turn out the people.

Alex Ferrari 27:47
That's awesome. That's awesome. Alright, so you finish making this movie. Now I'm assuming during this process, even during the making of this movie, or prior to it, you're already thinking how you're going to distribute this thing? Correct?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:59
Yeah, we were, although to be perfectly honest. So my first feature film, as I said, had gotten a distribution deal, which at the time, felt like oh, my God, it was a theatrical It was 10 cities.

Alex Ferrari 28:13
And you're still counting the money that they keep sending you, right? I mean, it must be tiring to to swim in the gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, and let's be real,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 28:24
I will tell you exactly what happened with that movie. So we got to do and I and we actually, I believe our distributor work wasn't we're honest people, which I think in and of itself is incredibly rare. And but we we have made to date came out in 2014, slightly less than $5,000. We have received from that,

Alex Ferrari 28:45
from the, from everything

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 28:47
from everything, Jesus, and to And to make matters worse, a year ago, that company folded and got their their titles got bought by another distribution company, which happens all the time because these distribution companies are turning over like that. And that company has had our film since last August, so a full year, and we have not received a single report or check from them. Despite the fact that we have emailed and called them multiple, multiple times, we had a lawyer contact them like they just won't,

Alex Ferrari 29:22
unless they're like if you want it to us. Yeah. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Basically, when is the original contract up in one year? Okay, and then it'll come back to you. And then you can do whatever you want with it.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 29:45
Right? So thank God it was a short I mean, it was a six year contract, which is relatively,

Alex Ferrari 29:50
it's relatively short, anywhere between five to seven is what I recommend, which is not recommend, but it's just generally you know, I literally just got a call from a filmmakers like yeah, this Distribution numbers they will not be named. But they offered a 15. Year. Yeah. Your deal with no money upfront with no money upfront. So my call you're dominating the film that your donation it's a donation. Right off, it's a write off because you're never going to see a dime. Oh and 100,000 PNA locked off at 100,000 psi. So I talked Are you kidding? Are you kidding me I'm never see a dime. Yeah. It's predatory these guys are.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 30:34
It's just we made it. We made a docu series about the tour, which we'll talk about in a while but but in the course of part of that docu series was that we wanted to be radically transparent about our data, and numbers and revenue and everything, because we feel like a huge problem in this space is that nobody has any information. So we're essentially all making dumb decisions, because we don't know what have any information. So because we've done that a number of other filmmakers began reaching out to us who had gotten to traditional distribution deals. And were, were willing to disclose to us what had happened. Numbers wise. So we had a pair of filmmakers Come on our on our series and talk about what happened. And it was

Alex Ferrari 31:23
the abuse for beating the beating Yes,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 31:26
well, and like the thievery. Oh, straight up. And so then we had a lawyer contact us who, who spends a lot of time fighting this stuff. And he said, I mean, hit the whole phone calls in the episode it and I'm and I'm crying by the end of the phone call, because it's so horrifying, what he told us. Wow,

Alex Ferrari 31:46
I would like to talk to him. Oh, totally talk to him, I will put you in touch. And we will talk after afterwards because I I really need to talk to him. Yeah, you know, I've talked about distribution. And you know, the whole film to printer model in general, is about giving power to thinking about film as an entrepreneurial endeavor, thinking of your movie as a product and audiences and selling it and all that stuff. And to use traditional distribution as a partnership or as a hybrid part of part of the hybrid distribution model, where you still retain some sort of control. And you don't get lost, you know, I know Sundance winners, with their movies that that got lost in bankruptcies of distribution companies. And yeah, their rights are locked up for years. And by the time six years rolls around, no one cares about their Sundance winner right anymore,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 32:36
right. It's so one of the filmmakers who came on our series to talk was that they didn't win Sundance, but they were at Sundance, which is, you know, like,

Alex Ferrari 32:44
know, when it's a witness winning, that's winning.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 32:46
Yeah. And they have received $0 back from their distribution company. So far.

Alex Ferrari 32:52
I mean, yeah. That's insane. Okay, so so you, you, were going to get about the docu series in a little bit. So your distribution plan, what was the idea? Like, when you started going down this because I'm assuming you feel responsible to pay back these people, and and even possibly make a little money on on this deal. So you as a responsible filmmaker, we're like, Okay, guys, we've got half a million, how are we going to make this back? What was the what was the thought process there?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:26
Yeah. So initially, we started going down the same old path of applying to film festivals and wanting to be picked, like Cinderella out of the masses and sort of like

Alex Ferrari 33:39
in lottery ticket, the lottery ticket mentality,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:40
a lottery ticket. And it's really two lottery tickets, right? You have to win the lottery of the film festivals to get into a major Film Festival, where you can even be looked at by seriously by distributor, if there's any left to win the lottery again, to actually get a distribution deal.

Alex Ferrari 33:55
Yeah, so basically, and there's only what 567 in the US five, there's five that matter. Yeah. And even then, even Sundance,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 34:06
though I had, I had a distributor, somebody who's worked deeply in distribution, tell me the other day off the record that she said, you know, all these distribution companies tell filmmakers Don't worry, if you don't get into one of the top film festivals, we still look at other festivals, whatever she's like, that is bullshit. She's like, the reality is, if you don't get into a top Film Festival, you are screwed. If you got into a top Film Festival, you are still probably screwed. But there is a tiny percentage of chance that you're not totally screwed,

Alex Ferrari 34:35
unless you go at it from a different point of view like you are and what we talked about. Okay, so alright, so So what was the RCW went down the normal traditional path at Sundance, you submitted to Sundance

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 34:48
Sundance, we were not accepted to not really a Sundance kind of movie.

Alex Ferrari 34:53
I mean, but also, you you did crowdfund with seed and spark, right? We did, yeah. Okay. So can you talk to us about quickly about you know, cuz I crowdfunded my first film on scene. And I love Emily and I love what they're doing their fan rates. They're fantastic. And you know, did you so you crowdfunded this. How much did you raise when you crowdfunded, crowdfunded? 35,000? So that's that's a good amount. Yeah, that's a yeah without question and then you and then you get the investments for the rest. But you started to build an audience with them. Yeah, with with seed and spark and then see the spark has their own kind of, you know, distribution output deal like their service and they have to deal with, with quiver and all that kind of stuff. Right, then you don't have to deal with quiver anymore. You got to quiver. Liz manna shell at Sundance source, Liz. Yes. A friend of the show.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 35:45
We had, we had gotten to the final rounds of being selected for their creative distribution lab. And they have a deal with quiver that if you're a finalist, you get a discount.

Alex Ferrari 35:54
Awesome. They were on the show. They were on the show. Did you get the funding a quick funny story about Liz. She called me and she's like, Alex, we have this distribution grant. We want to give people filmmakers way. But we have like 15 people who've signed up, I need help. Can you get the word out? I'm like, like, Are you kidding? Are you kidding me? Give me a minute. And then and then I put her on the show. And I go, be careful what you wish for. And they were in the data that shut it down. And I said it and they were foolish enough to leave their emails on the show. I'm like, don't. She's like, No, no, we don't mind. We want to help. I'm like, okay, and you're like, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was it was brutal. Yeah. That's awesome. Alright, so you went down that road, say so. So go ahead, continue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 36:43
Okay, so we, I would say we spent about from like September to, to know, to like Thanksgiving sort of going down that path, having initial conversations with distributors and sales agents. And simultaneously sort of feeling our own souls dying by the by the just like sort of soul less horrible now horribleness of that process. And also. So I had had that experience with my my first feature film and my producing partner Sarah Wharton's past feature films, I had very similar experiences with traditional distributors. And, like, we were just kind of getting like, it just began to feel like, we were gonna hand our film to a person who is going to throw it off a cliff, again, in exchange for a large percentage of our revenues, like just

Alex Ferrari 37:37
throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 37:39
Right. And also, I think what was different this time, too, is is at this current moment in film distribution, you can feel the despondency wafting off of the distributors themselves, like you're in these conversations, and they're just like, well, we don't know what works. I love your movie, and I have absolutely no idea how to sell it. You can just feel the despair. But I feel

Alex Ferrari 38:03
it. But I think also distributors have the same problem as independent filmmakers is like they, they can't get above the noise like No, no. There's certain bigger distributors. I mean, I'm not even talking about Lionsgate or the studios or anything like that. I'm talking about just like even bigger indie distributors names. These guys. They just basically pump it out through their outlets. So they'll put it on iTunes, Amazon, they might make a red box deal if you're lucky, that maybe they'll do a limited theatrical if it has some sort of maybe if it maybe they'll get Netflix or Hulu to buy it, they'll just submit it, but they just basically shotgun it, they don't really have a plan. And it's almost impossible for a distributor without major money to distribute it to to get any sort of awareness for a film, even if you dump five or 10 million bucks into PNA. I still mean that's nothing

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:56
totally and and yet, there is no doubt that we are in a profound distribution crisis right now across the board. Like it's not it's not it's not like it's the distributors that not that piece of it is not the distributors fault. But But in that landscape. I feel like it makes the prospect of going with a distributor even worse. Like they're just like flinging stuff out. And nothing's working.

Alex Ferrari 39:25
Because it's it's to it they they've caught that they're basically I hate to use the term blockbuster but then don't be blockbuster. That's what that is they got into they got fat. This is the way it's always been. And then when Netflix and when Netflix showed up and offered blockbuster to buy them for 50 million and blockbuster said no kid, we're fine. We're good on this video store thing. We don't need your DVD home sale thing, whatever you're doing. And but that's what that's where these old school distribution distribution companies are coming from. They're just they have no idea how to handle the new landscape and It's changing. daily, daily, daily.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:03
It's insane. Yeah, insane. Right. So I'm so in the middle of that mess there. There came a moment around Thanksgiving where we were just like, we just looked at each other. And we were like, we're not doing this again. This is horrible, and not gonna work. And his movie is too good. We have too much money on the line. We're just not Nope, we're not doing it. So we started. I had a dream actually, literally is what happened?

Alex Ferrari 40:28
Yes, MLK Yes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:30
That we were driving around the country in an RV on something called the joyful vampire tour of America releasing the movie,

Alex Ferrari 40:38
you had a dream? You literally physically

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:41
dream that that was happening. And I called and I called Sarah the next morning and I was like, this might be crazy. But what if we just rented an RV and did the drive vampire to America? And God bless her she was like, Yes, and we should put things on it.

Alex Ferrari 40:59
This is the audacity I was talking about this is what I love about the story.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:04
So in just last December, we I had the stream and we basically started calling everybody that we knew within the industry and and sounding out this idea.

Alex Ferrari 41:15
Oh, and oh, that didn't go well. I'm sure

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:18
you know, the nothing will signal how giant a crisis the industry isn't as basically everybody's was Francoise. Well, nothing else is working. You may as

Alex Ferrari 41:27
well try. Oh, wow. That's that says volumes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:31
Right? One, one woman read us the riot act about how we were throwing our careers off the cliff but truly wild for that phone call. And when it finally happened, I was like, Oh, this is finally happening.

Alex Ferrari 41:43
Okay, good. We we are crazy. I mean, can't everyone can agree with this.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:47
This is insane. Everybody else was just like, we don't know, probably try it. Um, so I guess we decided around Christmas that we were going to do this. And then we had from January to May to put together the tour. And and the basic thinking behind the tour was okay, if the hurdle is that it's really hard to get people to leave their houses. Now to watch a movie because you have infinite content from your sofa, then you have to offer people an extra reason to do it. Yes. So we thought a piece of that is certainly having the filmmaker be there being able to do a q&a after people meet the filmmaker got to talk about the movie. But we felt like there needed to be another element that that wasn't quite enough. So we came up with the idea that we would throw a joyful vampire ball after every screening. And that we would invite the audience to come dressed in costume, to the screening and the bar and the party.

Alex Ferrari 42:47
And if I may stop you for a second. And if you understand your niche, which you guys definitely do understand your niche, that audience would love to dress up and go.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 42:58
Oh, yes. Right. And, and funnily enough, the the desire to dress in costume, and wound up expanding way beyond our niche audience. Like it turns out that most adults are just looking for an excuse to wear a costume.

Alex Ferrari 43:15
Fun fact, fun fact, for everyone listening out there. People just want to dress up.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:20
Yeah. Um, so that was that was the concept. And then we we ran some back of the napkin math and quickly understood that we could not physically make back anything close to the budget, from the tour itself, because I had three months that I could do physically go on this tour. So we had, we had to do a three month tour and and Okay, you can't do a screening every night or you'll die. So maybe like, initially, we thought we'd do like 20 to 30 screenings over that time. Count the seats, them most you can make is like $40,000.

Alex Ferrari 43:59
So just from but that's just from ticket sales, that doesn't include other streams of revenue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 44:05
Right? So we so we decided quickly that the model that we were going to test was to use the tour to drive online sales. So we got the film transactionally on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. And and then we did a partnership with seed and spark so that they would help us market the tour. And so the film was available for subscription on demand through seed and spark. Which was worth it to us. Because if you're if they're your only subscription platform, they pay 40 cents per minute watched of your movie, that's amazing, which is bananas, which means that you make more money if somebody watches on seed and sparkling even if they buy a ticket.

Alex Ferrari 44:51
Wow, I wonder how that is. I have to call Emily, what's that business model working like? I

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 44:55
mean, I think the the only explanation I can come up with Is that they're artificially inflating it at the beginning of their model to try to attract filmmakers. And then eventually that will go down. But

Alex Ferrari 45:07
like Amazon did, yeah. But I'm happy to reap the benefits in the meantime. Fair enough. Fair enough. Okay, so so and then what are the other revenue streams that you were able to create on this tour.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 45:22
So, merchandise, merchandise, the major ones. So we, and because of the nature of the film, we've, we felt like, we just had a merchandise sort of extravaganza course waiting for

Alex Ferrari 45:36
it. But also don't forget, and I hate to interrupt you again. But that this audience is known for purchasing stuff, like Comic Con geeks, mega nerds, this is what they'd love to do. So they'd love to dress up, and they'd love to buy stuff. Thanks, great audience, great audience to go to Target. So I'm just trying, I'm stopping you every once in a while. So everyone hears and understands what the mentality and the process is because you guys are doing, you're basically hitting every note so far as the film intrapreneur you're hitting every note so far, so far, you're hitting every note.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:08
Okay. Um, so we had DVDs and blu rays print made up, we had posters we had very nice and that enamel pins, we had two kinds of T shirts. One that was the film's and one we had a very funny love sex.

Alex Ferrari 46:26
Design,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:28
Design.

Alex Ferrari 46:29
So okay, and I'll stop. I'll stop. I'll stop there. One more time is that now you understand your niche audience and you're creating not only merchandise off your movie, but you're also creating merchandise that that audience would like that is kind of related to your movie, but not directly related. So like the love socks, t shirt is just something that people who like vampires would probably buy,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:49
Right? Yes. And that design, one of the characters wears that T shirt in the movie, but

Alex Ferrari 46:54
Oh, that's so but that's but then you see again, now your product placing? Yeah, your movie. Oh my god. You're so hitting all the thoughts. Oh my god, I love this. I'm so glad I have you on the show. Alright, so continue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 47:08
Um, okay, as we add hoodies, we had mugs, we had three different designs of mugs. And

Alex Ferrari 47:18
I think that's it. And then you sold every at every event you would sell merch ended, how much revenue Did you generate from all the merge through the whole tour? Give or take? I believe? Nine $9,000. Okay, so that's a nice, Hey, I'll take it if it's on the floor. You know, it's a nice, it's a nice, it's a nice chunk of change. Why not? Okay, great. So now, and then what other revenue sources? Did you create the ball? How does that process work?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 47:44
So the balls, we ended up deciding. Okay, so So the way it ended up working with venues and the balls is some venues, the screening and the ball would be at the same venue. So the whole evening would take place. And, and generally there, there was only one ticket price, and it was for the whole thing. And those tickets tended to be more expensive, right. And some theaters were or some venues were more traditional theaters, and they, they either didn't have the space or wouldn't let us do the ball at that venue. So in those cases, we would have the screening and then move everybody to addict who wanted to come to a separate venue, usually like a local bar or something for the ball. Okay. And in those places, generally, we didn't charge extra for the ball, we ended up deciding that it was more worth it to have the people come and meet us and be engaged and buy merchandise that like the longer they hang out the drunker they get, the more merchandise they're going to buy. So that's a plus, we just didn't feel and particularly because in those situations, we would be doing them often at bars where other people were present, it became kind of complicated to be able to it didn't feel like something we could really charge for. If I did this again, when I do this again. I would I would always do it in venues where I could do the whole evening in one place. It didn't really work very well when you had to move people. And then I would charge more for the whole experience. So so quite often at these events. My so my husband was always working the merchants my very, very nice husband who moved into an RV for three months to test a distribution model. What always work the merge table. And quite often people would come up to him and give him cash donations towards the film as they left the theater. Which was really interesting. I mean, totally unsolicited. Obviously we weren't asking for donations. But what that signaled to us is that people consistently felt like they had gotten more value than they had paid for. So that they would have paid more money for the experience that they got was a cost what was the cost for the for the ball and the ticket So a lot of a lot of places we were hamstrung by, by what the movie theater normally charged for movies. So some places that was like seven or $8. Whenever we could control it, we charged usually 20 for the movie plus the ball.

Alex Ferrari 50:17
Cheap, though, I mean, Ukraine, that's so cheap, you could have easily charged 5070 bucks easily.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:23
Yeah, we wanted to test it. And see, I think, I think in the future, I would, I would charge more.

Alex Ferrari 50:30
Yeah, because you're creating an experience, you're creating an event, like even a even if you go to a bar, sometimes the cover is going to be 20 bucks. Like, you know, there's, there's ways that you could have,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:41
we definitely lowball that with, with the feeling that we were really testing a model and we needed to, like, it was something that people weren't going to be used to attending, it wasn't really a concept that audiences were going to understand. So we had to kind of like, make the bar for entry. pretty low.

Alex Ferrari 50:59
Got it. Got it. Alright, so so when when it's all said and done, what were the the rough numbers coming in from the tour?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:07
So from ticket sales? I think it came in at about 17,000. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 51:15
Okay. And then close it, and then close balls.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:18
Yeah. Okay. About 17,000 from ticket sales, which we could have, I think, had we sold out every venue. We would have made about 40,000, I think. But we were marketing 51 screenings in two days with a very small team.

Alex Ferrari 51:41
So yeah, that was my next question. How did you actually put asses in seats? Like, what what? Because that's a lot

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:46
of money. A lot of right. Yes. So we, we tried everything. So we did, we did a lot of paid Facebook ads, both to drive online sales, and then also to drive people to screenings. So we would target people in a specific geographic area. I've been to screening, and the geographic targeting ads worked. Shockingly, well. I thought those wouldn't work at all. But consistently, at screenings, people came because they saw an ad on Facebook. One lady drove four hours to see it in costume because she's on ad on Facebook, which I find shocking. Whoa, because there's not a lot of places you

Alex Ferrari 52:30
can dress up as a vampire. And without being scanned at a scarf that and go there. So you, you really I think you you you left some money on the table. If I made it. Yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 52:42
he did. But But the other thing is, we went, we went in blind, like we had no information, because there's no information. So there are 100 things I would do differently next time. And part of the reason we were doing the docu series is so that now other people can have our information and do better with next time. So we did paid for Facebook ads in almost every place, we had a local host, whose job was to help hustle their friends helping posters around town. A street team, that's great team. Yes. So they they were crucial. Like I would say that was probably the most effective means of getting people into seats. And oh, actually, so we with seed and spark, we ran surveys about this. So we we would have people sign up via text for our email list in the theater. After the screening, which everybody should do this is this worked incredibly well. And then the first email they would get would have a survey, asking them to tell us like why they had come to the film and where they'd heard about it on all this stuff. And so the top the top reason by far was hearing about it from a friend who was not involved in the film. So either word of mouth or local host. And then the next three tied reasons were paid Facebook ads, hearing about somebody it from a friend who was involved in the film, and hearing about it from the venue. Interesting. And then everything else like there was there was hardly anything else that even rate ranked on that scale. I mean, we did a lot of other stuff. So we we did have physical posters hung most all around town, not just at the theaters, but like around the communities. We we did we had a lot of very active social media life even outside of the paid ads which was effective we we did Facebook event pages which I do think were quite effective. We we targeted local grassroots organic we grassroots methods to target local organizations. So anything involving Women in Film, we would reach out to them anything and any really any local film groups, we would reach out to any local vampire clubs, any local d&d clubs, any LARPing groups, any Harry Potter clubs, they're a shocking number of Harry Potter clubs around the country, we'd reached out to them.

Alex Ferrari 55:22
Did you think Did you do any conventions? Like to show up at any conventions? You

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:26
did? We were invited to play at spike con in Utah, which we did, which was awesome. I think, do it playing more cons is going to be part of the next leg of our strategy. But we only played one on the tour itself.

Alex Ferrari 55:40
Okay. So Alright, so and then when so you obviously were thinking about developing ancillary products during the movie, obviously, cuz you had people wearing t shirts and you already thinking about ancillary products. So that was part of your strategy as well. Like, we're gonna self merge. We're gonna sell some merch on this like this. Before the tour, you were thinking of selling March?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:59
Yeah, I think that was always in our minds. Okay. Although, again, we we thought we would go down a more traditional path. Like, I think we were thinking we were helping set up a distributor to do a good job. And then, right.

Alex Ferrari 56:09
I'm sorry, I come. For people who are listening, you just see my face, like a distributor did like I my face said everything I was like, Yeah, right. You know, like setting. That's such a, that's such an indie filmmaker thing. This is a we all do is I'm gonna set them up properly to do a good job like they don't care. So now that you've done this, this, this tour, yeah, that you were trying to drive digital sales? Did it drive digital sales? And do you have any sort of numbers with that?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 56:38
Well, so here is the giant problem with these digital platforms is they don't tell you for three to six months. They don't give you any numbers for three to six months. So unlike any other normal marketing thing, I mean, like with with selling tickets on the road, we were able to, to very much adjust our tactics as we went, as we learned and saw was happening every night, and you just don't know. So that is a huge problem. So we will definitely make those numbers public once we have them, but we don't have them yet.

Alex Ferrari 57:11
And then what's the you were talking a little earlier about the next leg? What are you doing? How are you continuing this audacity of a journey?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:21
Well, so the tour ended two weeks ago, and we've all been in a bit of a coma, we all gave ourselves permission to be in a coma more or less since then. So we don't have an exact plan yet. We're going to start putting that together next month. But some things that we're definitely going to do start getting on the con circuit more aggressively. We have somebody who's helping us with foreign sales, we've we've had a lot of interest from international territories for the film.

Alex Ferrari 57:55
So So how are you processing that? Are you doing that to a sales agent? Or are you going to an international distributor?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 58:00
Well, I don't know yet. So we have, we have an Australian sales agent who I met through a friend. And his is like, actually trustworthy human, unlike most sales agents, and so she has very generously offered to help us sort of like suss out what the best way to go is q1 to wait till the end of the tour so that we had our materials. So one of one of the big advantages to the tour outside just the revenue we earned from the tour is that we now have video testimonials of people in costumes all over the country talking about how much they love the film, how their favorite film, you know, it's like so we have our documentary filmmaker who was with us making the docu series is putting together a sizzle reel for us that we can now send with our trailer to distributors. We're gonna go Holy shit, they ended up getting like they got people to come out in costume to watch this movie.

Alex Ferrari 59:01
But you're in the distributors with international. I'm assuming you're not going to get rid of you're not going to give them domestic. No, no, not domestic, internationally, internationally. Okay, and then you're just going to try to go territory or you're going to go to AFM or anything like that to see if you can do anything. I think we might try to go to AFM. Yeah. Okay. If you're there, we'll have coffee. I'll be there. No. Have you ever been Yeah. I've never been no. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Oh, prepare yourself. It's a it is it's an interesting place. Let's just get that way. I went one year and the biggest movie of the year was Steven Seagal versus mike tyson in a movie and of course you need to watch that movie because I want to know who wins. But that's the kind of place yeah, it's Yeah. Did you It's a Unix Unix place.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:00:02
Yeah. Speaking of soul crushing. And then I think eventually, we will try to just to make a deal with one of the streaming platforms. I think the feedback we've been getting is that the good thing about the streaming platforms at this particular moment is that they're all these new ones coming to market in the next six months. And they're all looking and they're all they're all looking. So it's, it is actually a little bit more of of a seller's marketplace right now than it has been with streaming platforms.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:36
Okay, and I'm assuming you try this. Did you submit to Netflix and Hulu yet or not yet? I am not yet. Okay. All right. I mean, it's you guys have I mean, you're you are hustlers. You are indie film, hustlers, your, your films, your printers, you are hustling that you're keeping going, you see most filmmakers would have just said, Well, that was the end of the tour. We're done. But you're like no, no, no, as we continue this journey,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:00
and this money back yet, and I think, like, part of this experiment to me, is to try to figure out like, Is there a market? Like, is it possible to make back half a million dollar money on indie films right now? And the answer may be no. And if the answer is no, because so to speak about digital sales for a second I, we don't have the final numbers, but I have a niggling feeling that we may have reached a moment where people are simply unwilling to pay even 299 for Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:37
I know the the future is is a VOD, is it's that's the future. I mean, I know filmmakers making a ton more than a VOD than they are an S VOD, or T VOD.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:49
Right. Without question. So that Oh, right. Also airlines, we're gonna try to make some airline deals, airlines,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:56
cruise lines, the churches not so much with the vampire movie, but they're vampire churches.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:07
Yeah, so I, I, I now suspect that our revenue model was wrong. I bet that that the tour will not have driven transactional sales in the way that we needed it to. so and so. But I think we have to look really into the abyss here as filmmakers and say, like, is it possible at any budget level? If it isn't? What does that mean? And and maybe the answer is that, like, you just have to make very micro budget films? Or the answer is that, like a lot of the arts, that the goal isn't actually to make money, it's to make impact. And that that ceases to be the goal.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:55
As long as the budget justify you justify the budget, then?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:58
Well, as long as you are completely upfront about that with your

Alex Ferrari 1:03:02
investors, if everyone understands that, like, Look, we're making art here. And this is an art exhibition. And we're gonna put it out there. And this is the way it is. Yeah, I mean, to answer your question, I'm, I'm in I'm in the, in the trenches here every day in the indie film trenches. So the answer is, yes, you can make your money back. But you and that's what the whole film shoprunner model is about. It's about rethinking how you do it. Could this movie if you would have made this movie for $100,000? Which is, it's still a decent budget $100,000 if you would be very close to making your money back more unlikely, you know, so it's about always about the budget and keeping that overhead low, or, or whatever, there's always that balance, like, you know, if I spent a million bucks, well, what do I need to do to get that million bucks? And vice versa? So if this for argue argument's sake, if this movie would have cost $50,000, the tour would have been great. Right? The tour would have been great. Well, except, yeah, give or take, I mean, you're not gonna make all the money back on the tour. But you would be really close, you know, and even on just merge sales, you would have done pretty well, I mean, obviously costs and stuff like that, but yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:04:15
right. So I but I have to say that and obviously, the money is important. Obviously. However, there, there is another bottom line here, which is impact. And I have never felt as an artist, like my work was having greater impact than on this tour ever. It was astonishing. To travel the country and go to Vicksburg, Mississippi and Wichita, Kansas, and like these places that I have never been and show my movie and talk to people afterwards. Many of whom had never met a filmmaker before. Like, I feel like in New York and Los Angeles, we forget actually what a big deal that is. Because if you can find a screening without a filmmaker in attendance, it's like amazing. But like in Vicksburg, they had never met a filmmaker before. Like for them. For them, it was like, I may as well have been Steven Spielberg, you know, and, and I had this one really fascinating dialogue with a woman in Columbus, Ohio, who the my film, lovingly pokes fun at Christians. But this woman, what, what took a great affront to that, and came barreling up to me afterwards. And was was very hurt about the fact that I've made fun of Christians and I and I said, you know, I'm so sorry, you feel that way, we had this whole really extended conversation about the concept of comedy and punching up versus punching down and sort of like, at the end of it, she was like, well, it felt really great to be able to say that to a filmmaker, because normally nobody, here's my responses to movies, and I was like, That is awesome. You know, and, and, and the idea, my hope, my dream now is that if we could get like an Oregon Trail of filmmakers, doing these tours, and bringing film independent from some parts of the country that do not see independent film that have no access to anything, in an in person setting other than the Avengers, and and they could meet and have these dialogues with filmmakers of all different backgrounds and perspectives, that would change the country, it would,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:29
it would, and I would, I would agree with you on that. And I think that the future of independent film, there's going to be, you're going to need to do a lot more work. So I think that's gonna, that's going to thin out the herd, if you will, because there's not many filmmakers that I know. Who wants to get into an RV for three years on it. And in travel the country, there just isn't. And it's going to that's what it's going to take it's going to take thinking about movies differently, it's going to think about how can it create other revenue streams from this film? Is the film a loss leader, where I made the film for 100 grand, but I'm really making money on these online courses or books or, you know, depending on the subject matter, you know, yeah, all this all this kind of stuff. It's about thinking about it differently. I do believe there's a space for us. But I think we're gonna turn into more carnies, where I think that you've got to provide a service that the studios can't exactly period, right, and what your you were able to do the studio, there's no Avengers ball. Now. Now, they also made $2.7 billion, so they don't care. Because that's not what that's not what their business model is. But for us, the scrappy, independent filmmaker, the film shoprunner, we got to figure out other ways to make it happen. And I, I always look at this whole process as the creative process. The movie is just one part of this entire, from casting to creating product lines do doing this tour. This is all creative. Yeah, absolutely. And has to become a part of the dialogue and has to become part of this process. Because you can't just drop off to a distributor, like as very, very, very much of city clearly have said in this in this episode.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:08:15
Right. And so many filmmakers, both before the tour, and during the tour was like, Well, I think it's really awesome what you're doing, but like I would never want to do all that work. And like, then but but to me, and which I have sympathy for on the one hand, but on the other hand, a Why are we making movies if no one's gonna see them and be I with you, like I found I loved being on the tour like getting I'm a filmmaker getting to show my film to people 51 times and listen to them laugh and have them come in caught like it was the greatest? I mean, I put I it's one of the greatest periods of my life.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:50
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, are, you know, you're not the first film to ever go on a roadshow, there's many have done it before. But and there's many that will do it after. It's creating a business model that consists state of the art because, you know, as I say, the word show, and there's the word business, and the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. And there's a reason for that. Because without the business, there is no show and as much impact as you want to make, when it would be better to make a film that you can not only make your money back, but everyone gets paid, you get a little bit of profit. And you could do it again and again and again and again. And if you control everything, you create your own portfolio, where you have actual revenue streams in that, like, maybe you'll get a report. Right. That's the future. That's the future.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:09:37
Absolutely. And I think the key pathway to that future is more films being willing to offer themselves as case study as radically transparent case studies. Because a filmmaker within their lifetime is not going to make enough films to crack the model based on their own experimentation. And so we have to be honest with each other even when we fail. You Like, we just have to, because then we will figure it out. Because there I believe I'm with you, I believe there is a model out there. But we don't know what it is right now. that's for damn sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:08
I mean, the model that has worked for me is doing ultra micro budget movies that have good production value that are aimed at a niche audience. And then in your control everything. And, you know, my first film cost me five grand to make. And I sold it to Hulu, and I sold it internationally. And I drove sales, but I have a platform. And I was able to build off that and there's audience building, and there's that whole conversation we never even got into. But that that is a possibility. If I would have made that movie for 50, or 100, grand, I don't know, probably probably would have been another statistic. So it's, it's a weird balance. This is a weird, it's a wonderful and an extremely dangerous time from being an independent filmmaker, because there's more access than ever before. But the competition is just, it's crushing it,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:11:01
I would say I would say the noise more than the competition gets it. I feel like it would feel differently if if you were if it was just like, eat, like such great work was being made. And you were like, up against like, anywhere, and you were losing out to films that like blew your mind. And that doesn't feel but sometimes you see those films, but I it's just it's sort of the noise.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:21
But but also with that said, The competition is not just films, it's amazing television. I mean, the television that's coming out right now it's where all a lot of independent filmmakers are going. Right? Cuz I mean, and you're competing for that hour? Oh, yeah, no, you know, your go. phones and video games, social media. In America, there's a million other things. So there's just a lot of competition for eyeballs. It's

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:11:45
what's interesting, again, about that, so so my hypothesis going into the tour was that you could maybe salvage the in person experience as long as you relied on, on online viewing for money. And I actually think it's the reverse, because the number of people that came up to me and said, like, this is the first meaningful human interaction I've had with strangers in months. And like the hunger of people to it is harder to get them out of their houses, for sure. But once they're there, you can give them like borderline religious experiences, with very little effort, you know, just but in the simple act of putting them in a room and giving them context to interact with other people.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:33
Yeah, it's it is the future is the future. I think this is a this is a model that can work. I think at a certain budget range. It could work without question, I think at this budget range, it will work but it's going to take longer, it's going to be hard hustling, and, and it's an experiment. You guys are really in your investors must be really cool. People

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:12:54
are really cool people. They're extremely cool. And we did ask them like we we explain, but But the other thing is like, okay, so I think you're right, I think there's money that we probably left on the table. How are we hold? No, but are we better off than if we had gotten a distribution deal? Yes, that we are you have money, we have some money, you actually got some money. We made more in the first week of ticket sales from the tour than I made for my entire first feature film from a distributor.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:27
Correct. So yeah, right. I mean, that pretty much says everything you need to say. So as a as a business person is you have to look at like, Okay, well, what cost does that potential revenue justify? And that's, that's, it's like, it's like, you got to look at it as developing any widget, keep the cost as low as possible by still maintaining as high quality as possible to be able to create a marketable product. You know, and then also, art, you know, it, there's that it's a weird, we're very unique, strange business. You know, we're the only we're the only business that says, We're gonna invest a million dollars into something that we kind of maybe figured maybe there'll be some way we'll make our money back

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:14:15
like this and has no inherent value. That's value will be decided upon financially upon completion,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:24
right? Because this is about random people, right? This This has a value. Yes, this phone has a value, and it costs X amount and it has this X amount of value attached to it. A movie. I mean, the room, you know, the movie, the room, which is considered one of the worst movies of all time, has a specific value attached to it, right. Is it better than producing your film? No. Is it better produce than most films? No, but is it more profitable? Yes, absolutely. Tommy was so is a millionaire off of this movie because of the perceived value of that. film. So it's such a crazy thing.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:15:04
What right, which is crazy as a business, and it's also the only art form that is expected to make money like no other art form is it really right is expected to make money.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:12
Right, exactly. But because the value the cost is so high, the cost is so high to create our art, you know, and there's so many and it's a collaborative art. So it's not even one person. It's a collaborative art. So now you've got to deal with all of that and the politics and the person doing well. I actually I came up with I came up with a basically an idea of what why we are is insane as we are, and you are literally a carny. I mean, you literally went on the road and put up a tent and put a shell on and packed it up and moved to the next step. So I mean, I was considered as of carnies. But I think we have to get ourselves checked out for Sally Lloyd, because we might have a bad case of filmmaking. And I think, and I think once we get bitten, there's no vaccine. Like, you're done. You're done. You're, it's over and, and to be a little bit more crass. It's kind of like herpes, because it's dormant A lot of times, but it flares up, and it's with you for life.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:08
Like, even even in the worst day, on tour, I would go into that theater and listen to an audience full of people laughing at the jokes I had written and I was like, I'm good, I'm done. My life, there's nothing else I can do. I don't even need money, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:16:21
fine. It's, we're insane. We're insane. But if we understand our insanity, and we if we, if we are self aware enough of what we're doing, because a lot of filmmakers or not a lot of filmmakers are delusional. Trust me, I know, I was very delusional for many, many years of my career, I'm sure you might have had a few years of delusion, as well. But if we're self aware enough, and then we actually become smart about how we can actually create our art, and make a business out of art, and then create other revenues he streams to, to support us while we're making our art to the point where we're able to eventually do this full time. That's the dream. And I think also a lot of filmmakers have this whole, I need to make a million dollars, and I have to work in the studio system. And I have to do what like that dream that Hollywood's been selling us since the 90s. If I'm able to make money that pays my rent, and puts food on my table for my family, and I'm able to provide a service, which is entertainment, or some other service that I'm providing my audience. Isn't that the dream? Like man is Yeah, right. It's like, I don't need billions of dollars. You know, I don't, I'm happy.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:28
They do need to be able to pay my rent. And I think that's the people we're still not quite there yet.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:33
Right? pay your rent, pay your people that work with you on this crazy people that you conned into doing, going on these crazy journeys with us as filmmakers.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:43
But I mean, I do I do think there's something to the duplass Yes, model for sure of of very low, keeping the cost low up front by giving everybody a piece of the back end with the Touring model, because one thing. So I will say that, that having the name actors did help to a certain extent. But Naomi Grossman, who is one of them, hustled her took us off for us. And and like, got every cousin she has to come out to a screening and got every person she knows in every city. And she put more butts in seats, not because she's famous, but because she like hounded people to come. And for that reason, she was the most valuable actor. And I think, actually, if you if you had a whole team of filmmakers, actively hounding people in cities, because they were gonna get a piece of the back end, we would have sold more tickets than we sold because we had famous actors.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:45
Yeah, there's, there's, there's multiple different business models, and I think the duplass brothers have been able to they cracked the code. I mean, the duplass has cracked the code A while ago. And if you remember their first films, they were made for nothing. Right? And

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:18:58
You're also friends with famous people, which again, like what now but now right now?

Alex Ferrari 1:19:03
Yeah, not when they were starting out when they were start when they did puffy chair. You know, they had they had Sundance because they got the short film The year before, but it took them a minute before those famous people friends. And now they can leverage everything that they have. But you know, the whole Marvel story with them. Right? Have you heard that story? Marvel called the doop losses. And they offered them a movie. And they turned it down. Because they said it's just not us. And that is self awareness. And that is a clear understanding of what is important to you as a filmmaker that said, Look, we would be locked up for three years. And it would have been fun maybe but it's that it's kind of like that. We don't want to do that. Like we want to make other films we want to employ our friends. We want to go out and do this to tell the stories we want to tell like why would we lock ourselves up for write this kind of film like we're good. You know, we're making Netflix movies. We're making Netflix shows we're doing HBO shows like I don't need that. That every filmmaker that hears the story, many of them are like, You're crazy. I'm like I said, No, he knows. And they both know exactly what's important to them. Right? And I think that's where we all have to be. Now I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all of my entrepreneur guests. What advice would you give a filmtrepreneur starting a project today?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:20:26
Liberate yourself from the system.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:29
The matrix

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:20:31
Unplugged from the matrix,Take the red pill, because from the beginning, because the other thing that I like, if we had known from day one of making bite me that this is what we're going to do. A we would have done things differently, and we would have been able to set ourselves up so much more successfully.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:52
Very good. Now, what is the biggest lesson you've learned? Going through this audacity? of this this tour of this project? where you are, what's the biggest lesson you've learned so far?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:06
The system is a lie.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:09
The Matrix is a lie.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:11
Right? It's true. Like, I mean, I just can't tell you how many things people said to us like, well, you're never going to get theaters to agree to this Really? Well. So many theaters said yes, that we had to cap the tour at 51 screenings like that was not that like they're just the idea that film festivals are the be all end all know, when, when in reality, they're eating up your profits? Realistically?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:34
Of course.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:36
It's a lie. So like, think differently,

Alex Ferrari 1:21:39
Think differently. Okay, perfect. Yes. like Apple says, think different. Back in the day. Now, what is? What did you learn? What have you learned from your biggest filmmaking or business failure? Like that first movie, besides selling the traditional distributor?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:00
Yeah. I mean, I feel like it's the same.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:10
Just don't just just

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:11
It's that, that the decision to set to give your film to a distributor, is the last decision you get to make with that film, basically. Whereas that's great. Whereas whatever mistakes or successes we had with this tour, we now get to make an infinite number of decisions. Next.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:34
Do you see Do you see yourselves partnering strategically, with a traditional distributor? Like carving out certain rights, like actually doing a real partnership if you found good distributors? Because I have, and I have.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:49
Sure it's so hard to know, I mean, this is the problem? Like they all sound great up front? And then. But yeah, I mean, of course, like, if the right opportunity came along, I think particularly internationally, it makes a lot of sense. And

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
It just all depends, it all depends. Because there are there are models out there, there are distribution companies that I work with, that can do good stuff. But I would agree, like if you just sign everything over, if you can try to, you know, like, I'm going to keep the DVD rights, I have the rights to sell it on my website, something that's a huge thing. Like, if all hell breaks loose, I can still sell it on my I might, I could sell it on my website. I could put it on Vimeo plus and sell it Right, right, if worse comes to worse. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:23:46
The system is a lie? Okay, so basically, you grow up watching the Oscars and you like, and then everybody talks about Sundance, and it's like, there's it's so it's feels magical. So true, and it just isn't and it and like, and it's so I feel like I've had to learn that lesson over and over and over again.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:08
Okay. Now, in your opinion, what is the definition of a filmtrepreneur?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:15
Think a filmmaker who understands that their job does not end when the picture is locked.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:23
That's great definition. Great definition. I love that. Now, where can people find out more about you about bite me about everything you're doing?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:33
Well, I have a website. What 2019 NaomiMcDougalJones.com

Alex Ferrari 1:24:42
It's not Geocities. Sorry. Isn't on is it on AOL no joke.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:49
Maybe How Does that ever work? Exactly. Um, bite me. thefilm.com is our films website. And I would very much encourage people to watch our doctors series which is on YouTube, you just search for the joyful vampire tour of America. It's 12 episodes. It's that was made by Kiwi Callahan. It's incredibly funny and fun just as like an adventure story of us living in an RV for three months traveling around the country, but also does, we pull our pants all the way down and everything. So if, if I had had that tool as a filmmaker six months ago, my life would be different.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:28
Wow, that's awesome. Naomi, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, I'm so glad we were able to finally get together. And I hope and I do hope that this episode really educates some people out there and really inspire some people to do something and also terrify some people. Because it ain't easy out here. It isn't easy. And like you said, the filmmaker understands that their job is not done at cut. Final Cut is a really great definition of a film entrepreneur, because you've got to think about other things, you got to look at things differently, as you so wonderfully put. So thank you, again, so much for being so candid, and dropping some knowledge bombs, and inspirational bombs on the tribe today.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:26:12
Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:15
That was an epic interview. Naomi, thank you, again, so much for not only being on the show, but for everything you're doing for filmmakers with that amazing series, which by the way, the series is available on indie film hustle TV. So anybody who has membership to indie film hustle TV, you can watch the entire series there as part of your membership. It's also available on YouTube as well. But I will put links to all of that in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/342. I'll also put links to the movie where to buy it rented, see it and support this amazing group of filmmakers who are trying to make it happen for not only themselves, but to help the community as well. And I'm always behind anybody, any filmmaker, who is willing to be so open minded and completely transparent about their process of trying to make money in this in sane business. So thanks again, Naomi for coming on the show. Now, if you haven't already. And if you really liked the show, it really mean a lot to me, if you head over to filmmakingpodcast.com it'll take you straight to Apple podcasts, subscribe, leave a review, it really helps the show out a lot. It really, really, really appreciate it. And I have a little bit of update on that book, The rise of the filmtrepreneur, it is about a week away from me delivering it to my editor and getting everything ready for our October release. So I will keep you up to date on that. All I'm going to tell you guys is this, this book is going to blow the lid off this piston. I mean, I go buckwild on the business in this book, I really really do it is a eye opening book that tells a lot of truth bombs and a lot of hard realities about this business, but also gives you a blueprint on how you can actually make a business out of your filmmaking out of your films and to be able to build an actual business around what you love to do. So if you want to, again, preorder that book, head over to filmbizbook.com that's filmbizbook.com which will take you straight to Amazon where you can preorder the book to be the first to get it. Thank you again so much. This has been a cross over addition with the filmtrepreneur podcast of course if you haven't gone to the filmtrepreneur podcast please head over to filmbizpodcast.com. That's filmbizpodcast.com that takes you to the filmtrepreneur podcast. It is growing very, very fast. And it's getting a lot of great reviews. A lot of tribe members are heading over there. It's a lot of great, great information, new episode every single week. So thanks again for listening guys. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 024: How I Made Over $90,000 Selling my Short Film + Video Tutorials

Right-click here to download the MP3

Making a Short film can be tough but selling a short film can be impossible. Here’s my story on how I did both.

I directed a small action short film a few years back called BROKEN (Watch it on Indie Film Hustle TV) I shot the short film on MiniDV Tape (yes I’m old) on the Panasonic DVX 100a, the indie film workhorse of its day.

My team and I filmed it in West Palm Beach Florida (not exactly the Mecca of the film industry) and it starred only local, no named actors.

Now once the filming was over I marketed the living hell out of that short film. It went on to screen at over 250 international film festivals, won countless awards and was covered by over 300 news outlets.

That little short film had a life of its own. I even got a review from legendary film critic Roger Ebert (to hear the full story on how that happen to take a listen to this podcast: Getting Attention from Influencers & Gatekeepers)


BROKEN is essentially a demonstration of the mastery of horror imagery and techniques. Effective and professional.” – Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, short film, short films, indie film hustle, film school, independent film, robert rodriguez, indie film, moviemaker, red camera, arri alexa, cinematography, digital filmmaking, filmmaking, alex ferrari, guerrilla filmmaking, NYU, USC, Full Sail University, Sundance Film Festival, film festival, tarantino, kurosawa, cinematography, short films, short film, indie films, filmmaker, how to make a movie, short film ideas, filmmakers, filmmaking, film festivals, film production, guerrilla film, film distribution, indie movie, screenwriter, screenwriting, short film competition, film producers, short films online, how to make short films, film distribution process, great short films, good independent films, digital video production, list of film festivals, watch short films, marketing video production, indie filmmaking, filmmaking software, short film contests, short film festivals, how to make an independent film

Roger Ebert at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Now you must be asking,

But Alex how the hell did you make money with it?

Well, I knew that no one would pay “real money” for a 20-minute short film, shot on MiniDV, with no-name actors, and from a first time director to boot. So I thought like a Filmtrepreneur and planned to create a guerilla indie film school with over 3 hours of footage, tutorials, commentaries and more. 

By creating all the supplemental material and packaging with the short film on DVD I created a viable product for the marketplace.

VOD (Video on Demand) and digital download technology were just getting off the ground and still very expensive if it worked at all. Youtube was not “Youtube” yet, it had just launched. So DVD was the only way to go.


I went after every message board and film news outlet I could get my hands on. I’d had created so much hype around the release that on day one I sold over 250 DVDs for $20.00 a pop. That’s $5000! 

The orders kept coming and I went on to sell over 5000 copies worldwide (and counting), shipping them out of my bedroom in Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

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Speaking on a panel at the Director’s Guild of America opening night at Hollyshorts! Film Festival

10 years later I’m still selling copies today, as crazy as might sound. I’ve probably have generated well over $90,000 selling that little short film over the years. All because I understood my marketplace and what it needed. 

At the time there was nothing on the market like the BROKEN DVD; no courses on how to make a low budget indie feature or short film with low budget technology. BROKEN has found a new life in Indie Film Hustle’s first online educational course “BROKEN (Watch it on Indie Film Hustle TV)” More on that later.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So this episode today, I wanted to talk about a question that I get asked a ton. It's something that I did almost 10 years ago now was 11, over a little was 11 years ago at this point. And I talk a lot about this little short film, I think in the most, it's the most talked about short film in history. But my film that I did 10 years ago called Broken, I was able to do something very special with that film back then, and continue to do stuff with that film. And my other works today. And I wanted to share with you guys a little bit of how I was able to generate a substantial amount of money selling and self distributing, broken and now my other works as well. So when I created broken, it was a short, I'll give you a quick, quick story about it if I haven't mentioned that already on the show. But the quick story of broke it is that it was a shot as a small short film, shot for about $1,000 shot on mini DV back in 2004. There was no high end technology back then. So I was editing it on Final Cut shot on a mini DV. But what I did do was create a look for the film because of my post production experience. And I took the format of mini DV and did something really cool with it that a lot of people hadn't seen before. So what I did was did a lot of color grading and made it look in a very filmic. And the way it was and a lot of filmmakers started asking me how I was doing it and how I did it. So when when I released the trailer, like when I first started the movie, I had no plans on selling it. I don't think I didn't even understand what I was going to do with it. I just wanted to try to get it out there and see what would happen with it. But as I started posting in places and posting the trailer, in places people kept asking me how did you do those visual effects, which by the way, we did over 100 visual effects in this little short film. So people were asking me how did you do the visual effects? How did you do the had the magic, that camera looked like that I have that camera, which was the dv x 100 A the workhorse of its day. I still love that little camera, they were asking me how I'm able to do it, I can't do it. I have that camera, well, your techniques. So that started giving me the idea. When I first was about to start doing broken, I looked everywhere for some sort of resources to be able to make broken as far as like DVD tutorial something to show me how to make a mini DVD movie editing on Final Cut just something to teach you how to make independent film and believe it or not back in 2004. There wasn't a whole lot. There was actually nothing, I couldn't find a thing about how to make movies for that kind of budget with that kind of technology. YouTube was just it's an infancy was just getting started. And it definitely wasn't owned by Google at the time. So the quality was really horrible as well. It just there was nothing there. So I saw that there was a a hole in the marketplace. So I was like, Well, you know what I'm going to do this. I'm going to learn a whole bunch of stuff on how I did it along the way. And I documented everything I had to documentary crews following us through the entire five days shoot documentary crews being my friends.

And we shot just hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of behind the scenes footage of how we made this movie. So then I went on and spent about six weeks I would imagine to create over three hours or so of behind the scenes tutorials, kind of like a gorilla film school and put it on DVD. Now while this was going on, I was creating a buzz about the movie. For about six months, I was creating a lot of buzz about the movie. I was getting into film festivals. We were winning awards. We were getting written up. We went to Sundance, we've just done a whole bunch of different things with the film. And I was on spin offs to me now I know this now is like you I was doing a product launch. A lot of people talk about doing a product launch online. There's a sequence that you go by and I was doing it and I didn't even know what I was doing at the time. But I was actually Creating a product launch sequence, creating anticipation for the product. So when I started released it, it was very excited about the movie then, when I announced that I was creating this DVD, about how to make the movie, and how I made it, and all the tricks and tips of how I did it, and it was so full of information so full of rich content, the indie film community at the time, really, really just embraced it and went crazy for it and started sharing it and started talking about it. People were already getting excited for I didn't even do any pre orders, I should have done pre orders, I didn't do any pre orders. All I did was like, Hey, if you want to know when it comes out, just sign up for my email list. And I was even getting email lists at the time. And that wasn't something in vogue back in 2004. So I was doing all this kind of instinctually I can't say there was a master plan that I was doing this back then. But so anyway, the day opens that I launch it, all of a sudden, I just hear Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, all my emails keep coming in from PayPal. And we sold over 250 DVDs in the first day, which was about five grand, because we were selling the DVD at 20 bucks a pop, my partner and I had to run to the post office handwrite all all of the addresses hand stamp all the addresses, we didn't have any infrastructure laid out and the printing of postage, nothing. So it was it was pretty crazy. And then it just kept building and kept selling and kept selling. Okay, building a building. But I was able to create a tremendous amount of press and a tremendous amount of energy around the product. But it was all about creating a piece of a product, if you will, that had content for people like I know, I wouldn't have been able to sell the short film by itself. It just didn't make any sense. It has no stars in it. Yeah, it's an action genre. And, you know, there's a lot of visual effects and things like that in it. But there was just no way someone was going to pay 510 20 bucks to buy this on a DVD, there was no digital downloads, no VOD at the time, that was at least accessible to indie filmmakers like myself. So when I was able to do this, I, I was able to create this, this product that had a tremendous amount of content, and people just went crazy for it, and then start talking about it and start sharing it. And what I was able to do is generate a sold, we've ended up selling over 5000 DVDs, over the course of the years have gone by. And it was all because I was able to identify a hole in the marketplace and understand what they wanted and fed my marketplace fed my audience what they wanted. And what they were asking for. It was pretty humbling, honestly, the whole process of what happened with broken so I tried to do something similar later on with our next film sin, where I was able to do some stuff on with some digital downloads through iTunes. But that was a kind of wonky way of doing it didn't create a bunch of content, like I did with broken was just wasn't as big of a movie. And then years later, I created my movie Red Princess Genesis, which is the animated prequel to references blues, which is the live action short for my feature film that I hope to make one day. And I created a whole bunch of content around that. So what I decided to do recently is to create a new brand new guerrilla indie film school encompassing all of my movies, and giving you almost seven hours of how to stuff like how to everything from pre production production post production, how to market your film, I do brand new content on how I marketed the film's how I went through it, how I how I built the websites, what techniques I used as far as theories and the concepts that I used, why I was doing certain things still hold very true today. So I put this all together under the name lipstick and bullets, lipstick and bullets was a Blu ray compilation of all of the stuff I did, and released that in England. I got all the rights back. And now I'm going to distribute them as an experiment through indie film hustle. So indie film hustle will present the guerrilla indie film school lipstick and bullets edition. So it's gonna have a ton of stuff. It's available. Now, if you head over to indie film hacks, calm, that's indie film hacks, calm. And since you're listening to this podcast, you're going to get a coupon for 20% off. Right now I'm selling it for $47 that will go up in the future. Right now. It's an introductory offer, I think it's a super deal for that much content, or you can rent it for 15 bucks. We're doing it all through VH x.tv going to have the the some representative from VH X on the show in the coming weeks as well. So look out for that explaining to you how how to do video on demand or self distribute through their platform, which is amazing. So far, I love it. The coupon code is I FH tribe. That's I F h tribe and you get 20% off the sale price of $47. So it ends up being like $37 and change. So you get almost 10 bucks off. So to wrap it up guys create how I was able to create this kind of amount of money with a short film is these key elements you have to remember. Now write these down, understand your audience, understand where your audience is, go to that area, where they are, where they're hanging out, whether that be on Facebook groups, whether that be in on forums, at film festivals, wherever they might be hanging out, depending on what that group is, if it's about, I always use the vegan chef example. But if they're vegan chefs don't go to the foodie blogs go to, there's so many different places you can go just find out who your audience is, okay? Once you find out who do you audiences, then start crowdsourcing them starting interacting with them start, you know, asking them what they want, when you find that information out, then build a product that you can sell to them through your movie. So whatever that movie is, and I'm using the word product, but it's really your movie. So write the movie around it around what they want, build a product base about what they want, whether that be hats, T shirts, extra extra materials, film, schools, whatever, whatever they want. If it's you're doing a movie about vegan chefs rom com about vegan chefs, my God, you'd be a fool not to create a whole series of videos on how to make vegan like, you know, a vegan chef of vegan recipes, and show them how to do it, because that's what they want. You know, that's something that they would want to do. If you're making a horror movie, it would be awesome to do tutorials about how you're making, you know, the heads explode, how are you doing it, you know, how you making the fake blood recipes, stuff like that, believe it or not, people really, really love, especially if you're focusing on other filmmakers or other people who are trying to do what you're doing. Once you do that, then you sell the product to them. And now how you how you sell that product to them in 2004 2005 DVDs with the answer, there were no other options. Today, I would not suggest you do a DVD, it's not a great place to it's a lot of upfront costs, and time. And all that stuff, I wouldn't do blu ray either. What I would do is strictly video on demand through through companies like VH X through Gumroad, through Vimeo Pro, any of those guys just do it directly to your consumer and cut out the middleman as much as you can with your project. And again, this is a case by case basis. Some projects have budgets that, you know, this is a much longer conversation about which project makes sense to do VOD and do this for short film and what I was doing to make perfect sense I spent $8,000, you know, I was able to recoup my money and then some with with what I was able to do. If you were doing $100,000 movie, you better have a heck of a marketing plan, and a heck of a business plan on how are you going to be able to recoup your money. And that goes into crowdsourcing crowd, crowd building crowdfunding, all those kinds of different topics. But that's how I was able to do you know, generate a tremendous amount of money, close over $90,000 Over the years selling broken as a broken on DVD. And now I'm continuing to sell not only some of the hand picked stuff from broken, that is still very relevant, I'm not going to give you a tutorial on mini DV. But a lot of the a lot of this cool stuff that was still very, very relevant today. I have picked that by creating and also created a bunch of stuff for red Princess references Genesis sin, and then marketing materials on how to market all of A plus tons of commentary tracks on composing and visual effects and all that kind of stuff for indie film. So I also include in this guerrilla indie film school, my book, The Art of broken, I've always been a big fan of all the art of books like The Art of matrix art, Sin City, and so on. And Ken Robinson and Dan create, and I put together this book with all of the artwork from not only broken, but for the defunct feature film version of broken, but there was so much artwork, and you can kind of see as an example of what can be done with some with a short film for God's sakes. But it's another product line. And we did sell it a hardcover hardcover copies of it. During the days of broken when it came out. We sold a handful of them. But I wanted to give this to you guys not only as an example of what can be done with a project, but also just for fun for people who just want to see all this cool, amazing artwork they all the artists did. I also include all the marketing materials of all the four movies that I did. So all the poster work all the kind of extras I did on the websites and things like that. So you can kind of see the progression of how I was able to market all of our films, and how we were able to get into over 500 film festivals and so on. And how about that you also get my ebook on how to get into film festivals for cheaper free. And that gives you a complete detail explanation of how I was able to get into over the into over 500 film festivals after the first 30 or so film festivals. I spent I spent over $1,000 in submission fees were broken, it was ridiculous. But after a certain time, I was like, You know what, I don't know, if I'm going to be able to like, at this point in the game, any film festivals I get into after this, how much more they're gonna like boost my career boost the film. So I was like, You know what, at this point in the game, I'll be more than willing to pay a submission fee if I'm able to play in the movie, but just to pay to submit and just maybe I'll get into it wasn't playing that anymore. So I decided to create these techniques that worked very, very well.

So you also get that in this package as well. It's a hell of a package, it really, really is a hell of a package, I would have killed to have it. And for the price, honestly, it's awesome. And you get to watch it as much as you want, whenever you want to watch it. Again, head over to indie film, hacks.com indie film hacks, calm and use that coupon code ifH tribe. So on a side note, guys, I wanted to thank you again for making this podcast the number one filmmaking podcast on iTunes. I am humbled beyond, by beyond all recognition. It's amazing that within a three month period, this little show has been able to rank all the way as to the number one spot or filmmaking in iTunes. So I humbly humbly thank all my listeners, all my all the all the tribe, all the indie film hustle tribe, for doing that. Thank you again, so so much for helping us get to that point. And please, if you love the show, or if you just want to give us an honest review, head over to iTunes, give us a review, give us a give us a good rating. And that will help us even get more and more people to listen to the show and help more and more filmmakers. So thanks again guys for listening. I really hope this helped you guys out a lot inspired you a little bit that it can be done. So keep that dream alive. Keep that hustle going. I'll talk to you guys soon.

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